3 tips for a better relationship with your O&P professional

Any prosthetic wearer will agree: having a good relationship with your O&P professional is key. After all, they’re responsible for an incredibly important part of your life - your artificial limb. What can you do yourself to make the utmost of this relationship?

The relationship with your O&P professional is always a two-way street, because although they’re the expert at how to make an artificial limb, you’re an expert at wearing it. Only you know how your prosthesis feels and whether it’s working for you. That’s why it’s important to tell your O&P professional exactly how you’re doing and what you want. Our tip: Think of your relationship with your O&P professional as a long-term investment in your health and happiness. Only by being completely honest and open with each other can you get the most out of your prosthesis. If you want to work on the relationship with your O&P professional, you can get started with these three tips.

Talk to your O&P professional!

Give your O&P professional all the information they need. Sometimes, fitting an artificial limb is a quick and easy process, but in most cases, you’ll need lots of sessions to find the best possible fit. This is entirely natural, because artificial limbs are highly personal, and which option suits you best depends on many different factors, such as your home and job to your physique and dreams. And since you’re the only person who can provide this information to your O&P professional, it’s essential that you talk to them. Even seemingly irrelevant information can be very important for your O&P professional, such as:

Your home situation

Tell your O&P professional what your home looks like. Do you have a staircase? A garden? A gravel path in the front yard? Or do you live on the third floor of an apartment building without an elevator? All these pieces of information are crucial for your O&P professional!


Do you live with a partner who can help you from time to time? Or do you live alone and do everything by yourself? Do you have children or grandchildren who you have to care for? A pet perhaps? Your family composition may affect your prosthesis.


What’s your job? And what does your work environment look like? Do you spend a lot of time at your computer or are you out and about a lot? If possible, your new prosthesis should support you and enable you to keep doing what you always did.

Leisure time

Tell your O&P professional exactly what you loved to in the past and what you like doing now. Do you love cycling? Do you often take your children or grandchildren on trips to the zoo? Are you tremendously attached to your weekly bingo night? Don’t leave anything out, even if you think there’s no way that you’ll be able to do it in the future. You’ll be surprised at what you can do with an artificial limb. Your O&P professional will be all too happy to help you make life as enjoyable as possible!

Situation before the amputation

If you’re a recent amputee, tell your O&P professional what your life was like before. What did an average day look like? What did you do on the weekend? Talking about this will give your O&P professional the best possible impression of who you are, which will allow them to make you an artificial limb that suits your goals, wishes and demands to a T.

Previous prosthesis

Have you ever had a previous prosthesis? What did you like about it? Where was there room for improvement? What features do you definitely want to keep? And what really needs to change?


What are your biggest dreams for the future? What would you love to do again in the future? What do you want your life to look like a year from now? Not only can your O&P professional use this information when creating your artificial limb, they can also help you think about which steps you’ll need to take to make your dreams come true.

Ask questions!

Ask any question that comes to mind. The entire process revolves around your life and your artificial limb, so it’s perfectly natural that you’ve got lots of questions! Ask all the questions you can think of. Your O&P professional won’t want you to leave with more questions than you had beforehand, so you’re effectively doing them a favour by asking any question you can come up with.

Some questions you might ask:

  • What parts does a prosthesis consist of?
  • What are the different parts for?
  • What prostheses can I choose from?
  • What are the special features of these prostheses?
  • Why do you think this prosthesis is best for me?
  • What are the main advantages of this prosthesis?
  • What are the main disadvantages of this prosthesis?
  • What exactly will the end result look like?
  • What types of cosmetic finishes can I choose from?
  • Where can I go for gait training after the fitting?
  • How long will I be able to use this prosthesis?
  • How should I care for this prosthesis?

Be critical when necessary

Tell your O&P professional when things aren’t going well. Don’t hesitate to point out when you’re struggling. It’s your duty to do so and you certainly don’t have to feel guilty. After all, you’re not doing your O&P professional any favours by staying silent. You both want to achieve the best possible result, which will only be possible if you’re honest and open about what you like and what you don’t like. Your openness and honesty will improve your relationship.

If things don’t work out between you and your O&P professional, remember that you have options. You can always see another O&P professional for a second opinion. If you don’t feel comfortable with your current O&P professional, you don’t have to stay. Choose an O&P professional who will help you get where you want to go.