Prosthetic knee replacement: what you should consider
Your prosthetic knee forms an essential part of your life. So, it is important that this prosthesis is a good match for your lifestyle. Time to replace it? It is extremely important to consider all the options. We’ve put together a list of five things to think about.
There are more prostheses available now than ever before. That translates into a wide range of possibilities. So, we recommend staying well informed about the latest products and technologies. We also recommend that you maintain a frank and open dialogue with your O&P professional. Read: Three tips for a better relationship with your O&P professional.
1. Changes in your health
It is important to consider possible changes in your health situation. Do you suffer from skin irritation, changes in the volume of your residual limb or a weight increase or loss? Do you stumble and fall more often than before? Inform your O&P professional about this, so that these things can be taken into account.
2. Your current and future activities
It is important that your prosthetic knee is a good fit for your daily life. So, it is important to take a moment to ask yourself the following two questions:
- What do I want to do in the future that I cannot do now?
- Does my current prosthesis limit my activity level?
Are the answers "Nothing" and "Not at all"? Then your current prosthetic knee may also be the most suitable prosthesis for your situation in coming years.
Did you answer these questions differently? Then a change may have a significant impact on your life. The fact is, the technology is advancing at a rapid pace. And even if you continue to use the same type of prosthetic knee, a (minor) change can make a huge difference. "Your" prosthesis may have undergone an upgrade that will give you an improvement. This is absolutely worth discussing with your O&P professional.
3. Functional limitations of a prosthetic knee
Every prosthesis has its own benefits, but also its own limitations. So, it is advisable to learn more about the limitations of the prosthetic knee you are considering. Get information on, for example, the performance of the knee on stairs, hills, uneven terrain and slopes.
Also ask your O&P professional about the impact of water, dust and dirt, vibrations and electric and magnetic disturbances. Considering a microprocessor-controlled knee? Make sure to ask about exposure to water, guarantees, service options if a repair is needed and how the knee functions when the battery is dead.
It can be worthwhile to have different knees for different activities. Your O&P professional can advise you about this.
5. Performance in everyday life
The personal experiences of users can mean much more than all the brochures and technical details. So, ask your O&P professional whether he or she can put you into touch with people who use the prosthesis you are considering. This lets you learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the prostheses from those with experience. You can also learn more by testing out the prosthesis. This is possible with many different types. Ask your O&P professional for more information.