How did you lose your limb?
How did you lose your limb? Something every amputee has been asked many times over. That question is typically accompanied with a preconceived notion that the answer will include a story of severe trauma or a war-related accident. However, we know that more often than not, that is not the case.
This month, the Clark & Associates Newsletter focuses on the vast majority of amputees who received an amputation as a result of a medical condition, typically tied to vascular complications.
A reminder that November is American Diabetes Month. In addition to participating in several community activities, we will be hosting the Amputee Support Group Meeting at our Waterloo location.
- 11/5 – Marshalltown Stroke Support Group In-service
- 11/6 – Iowa Physical Therapy Association Fall Meeting
- 11/10 – Iowa Clinic PT In-service
- 11/17 – NIACC PTA In-service
- 11/17 – TLC Amputee Support Group Meeting – 6:30 Community Room – Clark and Associates – Waterloo location – Guest Speaker – Andrea Sherwood – CPO Resident with Clark and Associates
Patient Spotlight: Jaymie Noffke
My “Normal” Life as a Wife, Working Mom & Amputee
For Jaymie Noffke, life as an amputee started at the age of 2 when she had bilateral above knee amputations as a result of a tibial deficiency. Jaymie was born without tibias – the bone connecting the knee and ankle, and amputation was the only solution that would allow Jaymie the ability to walk.
Now, as a young mother and wife, Jaymie says the only challenges she experiences now relate to change.
“I haven’t experienced much in terms of challenges. I would say the greatest challenge in life is dealing with change. I recently started a new job. I’m not in my ‘comfort zone’ quite yet because I haven’t developed relationships with all of my peers,” says Jaymie. “With such a change comes meeting new people who are not familiar with me.”
To help her better deal with change, Jaymie plans ahead.
“I often times have to visit the hospital for meetings and in the beginning, I did not always know where I was going,” explains Jaymie. “I plan ahead as much as possible to ensure I have plenty of time since I don’t walk as fast as a typical person.”
At Clark & Associates in Cedar Rapids, Jaymie sees CPO Travis Carlson.
“I have seen many prosthetists throughout my life, and I feel Travis is one of the most caring. He truly helps me out in any way he can and has my best interest at heart,” says Jaymie. “He is honest with me about what he thinks is best for me and is very accommodating.”
At Clark & Associates, Jaymie is an inspiration to our new amputees who are worried about leading an active life, becoming a parent and fulfilling their dreams of raising a family.
“I have two children, ages 3 and 6. They keep me very active. I spend my day working, cleaning, cooking and caring for my family. We live in a 3 story home which forces me to use stairs. I am able to carry laundry, etc. up and down the stairs, I carried my children as babies, and I enjoy shopping – which can involve a lot of walking,” describes Jaymie. “I live a very ‘normal’ life.”
Misconceptions About Amputees- Part 3
This month we continue our series on misconceptions about amputees with our third installment.
Misconception 3: We must have been involved in a traumatic accident or injured in battle.
Truth: While stories of limb loss from accident or battle are what makes headlines, the reality is that most amputations are the result of vascular diseases such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease. The Amputee Coalition of America provides the following statistics:
- Nearly 2 million people living with limb loss in the United States today
- Approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the US every year
- Vascular diseases account for 54% of all amputations
- Trauma / Accidents account for 45% of all amputations
- Loss of limb by soldiers during active duty account for less than 1% of all amputations
- 86 % of amputations are lower limb, 14 % are upper limb
Ask the Clinician: Andy Steele, CPO, Managing Partner
Q: I have pain in my limb when wearing my prosthesis. Should wearing a prosthesis be painful?
A: In general, no, it shouldn’t hurt to wear your prosthesis. However, we need to identify the source of pain and whether it’s just a temporary, short-term issue or a more chronic issue. If the pain comes on suddenly after having been comfortable in your prosthesis for a long period of time, then we need to try and determine the cause. Has the amputee gained or lost weight or had other medical issues that have caused retention of fluids? Has the amputee been more active than usual and is simply experiencing some aches and pains? This short term pain will usually subside after some rest or an adjustment in the number of socks you are wearing.
If the pain has persisted for a long period of time, then we have to evaluate the prosthetic socket and alignment of the prosthesis to ensure that is not the cause. This will usually require a visit with your prosthetist to pinpoint what the cause is and how to remedy the pain. An adjustment in the socket or alignment can sometimes cure the problem. If the amputee has gained or lost significant weight or volume in the limb, more extensive adjustments may be needed, or replacement of the socket and/or prosthesis.
It is our job as prosthetists to help each amputee maintain a comfortable fit. No matter if you think the problem may be short term or long term, do not hesitate to discuss the problem with your prosthetist.