A long prosthetic session

The morning of Monday 10th June saw a three and a half hour session with Lynne (my Prosthetist). This is not a bad thing in itself but depends whether I come away with a better fitting socket or not. Did I come away with a better socket? Lets just backtrack a little first

The first four days after getting my new socket we were away and I didn’t take my leg (too much stuff in the car). We were staying with my Aunt and Uncle in Somerset and I couldn’t use my wheelchair around their bungalow. Although I was told I cold use crutches if I really had too I shouldn’t use them all day every day. That went out the window as I was using crutches all day every day for four days! I did get pain in my ankle and leg but that’s only because it has hardly been used for months. I didn’t mind as it was giving it a work out ready for walking again.

When we got back home I did use the leg a bit but found that sitting was really painful. There was a lot of plastic at the back and I couldn’t tilt the leg enough while seated to get any kind of relief from it. Walking and standing was not too bad and I was concentrating hard on walking with the best posture possible. I did at times walk short distances around the home without using sticks.

I explained to Lynne the issue, pain and numb bum from sitting with the leg on. She took a look at me sitting in a chair, I explained where I felt it most and she said that there was a lot of plastic that could be removed. I also mentioned that this was the best I had got the leg on for the past couple of days. It seems I have a sweet spot where the fitting is perfect but the distance between hitting it and missing it is so fine I don’t very often get it right. I had also wanted to do a Physio session before I saw her, as that’s the best test for the socket, maximum activity in two hours but unfortunately my first session was scheduled for two days after this fitting. She went off to cut away some of the plastic.

When she came back and I put it on it felt really different but it was better for sitting with. Unfortunately I didn’t hit the sweet spot and had some issue in the groin area. She felt where the pressure was and said she could alter it there. I was concerned that if it was lowered I would loose some support but Lynne said she was not lowering it just changing the angle. I agreed and away she went, when she got back I put it straight back on. There was still an issue and in fact I took it of and put it on again as there was some pinching. She checked the groin area again and said she would flare it over a little to relive the pressure, as I tense to take a step the tendon (that is over prominent anyway) protrudes even further.

When she came back I tried it on and to be honest it felt worse, we decided to stop there and see how I get on with it. I did ask about trying it on as a proper suction socket but wanted to do it there after the last incident. Lynne happily agreed so I removed my compression sock, put on the donning sleeve and with some element of fear put the socket on to bare skin. I managed to get in further than with the compression sock on and it did feel a better fit. I walked up and down without using the belt, I had to concentrate harder on walking as I lost some support. It went OK though and then came the time to take it off. When I opened the valve I didn’t feel much relief on the end of the stump and we pushed the leg across the front of the other leg to try and get some air in. Eventually after a few attempts I broke the seal down the left side of the stump but not down to the bottom. The right side was stuck firm. We moved the prosthetic leg in all sorts of weird and wonderful positions but I could feel it pulling on the skin on the inside of my stump. In the end I asked Lynne to hold the leg straight out in front of me while I tried to wriggle out. Eventually the stump left the socket and the foot flew into Lynne’s stomach. To say there was some sore skin was an understatement and I quickly decided that this probably wasn’t the best method for me. I will stick with the compression sock between me and the socket, until we get to the point of change. Lynne recalls the last time we tried this and the trouble I had getting it off. She told me she has been asked a few times if anyone has ever got stuck in a socket, she thinks of me and replies that she has had a person in it for longer than she would have liked. It is up to me to keep using it, building up my time on it and my bones, muscles and skin adjusting to it. We arranged for a review in three weeks time and three months on from then, if the stump has settled, a long-term socket will be made for me. I have to admit so far this is the best socket of the three I’ve had but I still have a lot of work to do with it.

Socket 9

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