Every day, it is estimated 507 people in the United States experience a loss that is difficult to fathom– the loss of a limb. This staggering statistic doesn’t just pertain to the United States. Limb loss affects close to 60 million people worldwide.
Perhaps you are one of these people, or maybe you know someone living with limb loss? At TSC Prosthetics, we understand the difficulties and hardships that come with losing a limb. That’s why we’re proud to support Limb Loss Awareness Month this April.
The month of April is a time to recognize and celebrate the strength and resilience of those living with limb loss, provide guidance on how to prevent limb loss, lessen its impact, and live without limits, as well as to educate and inform the general public by highlighting the challenges amputees face.
We understand that the physical, emotional, and social implications of limb loss can be overwhelming, but we believe that with the right guidance and support, amputees can overcome any obstacle and live life without limits. That’s why we’re committed to spreading awareness this April and beyond, and we invite you to join us on this journey.
FACTS ABOUT LIMB LOSS
Many don’t realize how common limb loss is worldwide. It’s important to understand the scope of limb loss, its impact on those who experience it, some causes that can be prevented, ways to live life without limits, and how we, as a community, can help. Here are some limb loss facts to consider:
- According to the Amputee Coalition, there are currently 2.1 million people living with limb loss in the United States alone. It is estimated that number will grow to 3.6 million by 2050. Worldwide, the number of people living without limbs is at least 57.7 million people.
- Approximately 185,000 new amputations occur each year. This means 300 to 500 amputations are performed daily in the United States. Transtibial amputations, also known as “below-knee” or “BK” amputations, are the most frequently performed major limb amputations.
- Various factors, including medical conditions, accidents, and trauma, can cause limb loss. The most common causes of limb loss in the United States are vascular disease, trauma, and cancer. Diabetes is also a major contributing factor, with over 70,000 lower-limb amputations occurring each year due to complications from the disease.While some causes of limb loss, such as trauma, are challenging to prevent, others can be mitigated with early detection and treatment. For example, managing medical conditions such as diabetes and peripheral arterial disease can help prevent the need for amputation. Additionally, seeking prompt medical attention for infections and injuries can help prevent further complications.
- The month of April is an important time for amputees, their caregivers, friends, and family members, as it is Limb Loss Awareness Month. This month-long observance aims to educate and raise awareness about limb loss and its impact on the lives of individuals who have experienced it. It’s also an opportunity to support amputees and their families and spread the word about the resources available to help them lead fulfilling lives.
At TSC Prosthetics, we believe it is crucial to honor amputees’ strength and resilience, recognize their challenges, and celebrate their accomplishments and the modern technological advancements that can help amputees live flourishing lives.
Raising awareness about the prevalence of limb loss and its causes is essential for reducing the number of amputations that occur each year. By understanding the risks and taking preventative measures, we can help individuals maintain their mobility and independence.
Furthermore, supporting those who have experienced limb loss is vital in helping them adjust to their new circumstances and lead fulfilling lives. Together, we can work to break down the barriers that amputees face and promote greater understanding and inclusion in our communities.
UNDERSTANDING LIMB LOSS: WHAT IT’S LIKE TO LIVE WITHOUT A LIMB
Losing a limb is a life-changing experience that can be devastating physically, emotionally, and socially. It’s a significant loss that can leave people overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next.
Limb loss can have significant emotional effects, including grief, depression, and anxiety. Many amputees report feeling a sense of loss and frustration with the challenges of adjusting to life without a limb. Additionally, amputees may face social stigmatization and discrimination, which can further exacerbate their emotional distress.
After limb loss, many amputees also experience phantom limb pain, a sensation that the missing limb is still present. This can be a source of intense discomfort and can make it challenging to perform daily activities. Amputees may also experience balance, mobility, and prosthetic use challenges.
Despite these challenges, amputees are resilient and capable of living fulfilling lives. With the right resources and support, amputees can learn to adapt to their new reality and find new ways of engaging with the world around them.
It’s important to remember that hope isn’t lost. There are ways to live without limits after limb loss, with or without prosthetics.
HOW AMPUTEES LIVE LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS
Despite the challenges after limb loss, many amputees have found ways to thrive and live fulfilling lives. For some, this may involve exploring adaptive sports and fitness activities tailored to their needs. Others may find solace in creative pursuits like art or music or find meaning in advocacy and activism work.
One inspiring example of living without limits is Para triathlete, Sarah Reinertsen. Reinertsen lost her left leg at seven, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dreams. She became a world champion, proving that amputees can achieve great things with the right mindset and support.
Another example is community activist and disability rights advocate Angel Giuffria, who uses her experiences as a cyborg (due to her bionic arm) to educate and empower others. She has worked as a spokesperson for the Open Bionics company and has used her platform to promote disability representation and awareness.
These examples may seem extreme; after all, not everyone wants to run a marathon or become an advocate after experiencing limb loss. It’s important to remember that living without limits after limb loss is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each individual’s journey is unique and requires individualized support and resources. However someone chooses to live life after losing a limb, the key is having the right support and resources so amputees can find new ways of living and thriving.
It’s essential to recognize that living without limits does not mean ignoring or dismissing the challenges of limb loss. Rather, it involves acknowledging these challenges and finding ways to work around them. It may involve adapting to new technologies, developing new skills, or seeking new support networks. Whatever the approach, the key is to stay open-minded, resilient, and motivated.
WHAT ABOUT PROSTHETICS?
Most amputees opt to use prosthetics as a way to improve their quality of life. Prosthetics can offer many benefits, including improved mobility, greater independence, and increased self-confidence. In fact, studies show that the majority of amputees who receive prosthetic devices report a significant improvement in their quality of life.
That said, adapting can take time and patience for those who choose to use a prosthetic device. Ongoing support from family, friends, and healthcare professionals is critical to the recovery and adjustment process.
While prosthetics can be a life-changing tool for many amputees, some choose to live without them. There are various reasons why someone might make this choice, and it’s important to understand and respect their decision.
Some amputees may feel that their limb loss is integral to their identity and prefer not to use a prosthesis. For others, prosthetics may not be a practical option due to financial or physical limitations. There are also some that may have had negative experiences with prosthetics or may find them uncomfortable or cumbersome
If you or someone you know is hesitant to move forward with a prosthetic limb because of a negative experience, we encourage you to read more about our innovative approach and contact our team. The Surgical Clinics’ approach to prosthetics is unique. Our partnership with specialized vascular surgeons working with amputation surgery and prosthetic fitting has created unique innovations in both surgery and prosthetics. We have surgical options not offered in other parts of the country.
Suppose an amputee still chooses to adapt without a prosthesis. In that case, alternative support methods exist, such as assistive devices or modified living spaces. Additionally, they may find camaraderie and support within the amputee community, where they can connect with others who share similar experiences and challenges.
It is important to recognize that choosing to live without a prosthesis is a valid and personal decision. It’s important not to judge or pressure individuals into using prosthetics if they don’t feel comfortable or don’t find them necessary. By understanding and accepting amputees’ diverse experiences and choices, we can promote greater inclusivity and compassion for all.
For those who have lost a limb, social support is critical for adapting to their new reality. Friends, family, and healthcare professionals can provide emotional support, practical assistance, and guidance on navigating life’s challenges after limb loss.
Being sensitive and empathetic to their experiences is essential when communicating with and consoling amputees.
Here are a few ways we can help support individuals who have experienced limb loss:
- Be mindful of the conversations you have and the words you use when speaking to someone experiencing limb loss. Avoid using language reinforcing negative stereotypes or suggesting amputees are “less than” other people. Additionally, be open to listening to their experiences and concerns and offer support and resources as needed.
- One crucial aspect of supporting amputees is addressing the emotional impact of limb loss. Losing a limb can be a traumatic experience, and individuals may experience grief, anger, depression, or anxiety as they adjust to their new reality. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and provide opportunities for amputees to talk about their experiences and express their emotions. Support groups, counseling, and peer mentorship programs can all be helpful resources for individuals struggling with the emotional challenges of limb loss.
- Another way to support amputees is by promoting inclusion and accessibility in our communities. Many individuals with limb loss face barriers to accessing public spaces, transportation, and employment opportunities. By advocating for accessible design and accommodations, we can help ensure that amputees can participate fully in society and achieve their goals.
- Healthcare professionals also play a critical role in supporting amputees. This includes providing comprehensive rehabilitation services to help individuals regain their mobility and independence and ongoing medical care to address any complications or issues related to their amputation. Additionally, healthcare professionals can provide guidance on assistive technology, prosthetic devices, and other tools to help amputees manage their daily activities and improve their quality of life.
Working together to support amputees promotes greater understanding and inclusion in our communities. Whether through emotional support, advocacy, or healthcare services, there are many ways to make a positive difference in the lives of those who have experienced limb loss.
Limb loss is a life-changing experience that can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that amputees can live fulfilling lives. With the right mindset, support, and resources like the ones we provide at TSC Prosthetics, amputees can find new ways of engaging with the world and pursuing their passions.
This Limb Loss Awareness Month, let’s work to promote understanding, compassion, and support for amputees everywhere and help them live without limits.
If you want more information and resources, this tips and FAQ for new amputees article might be helpful. And you can click here to learn more about limb loss and how you can get involved in the limb difference community.
PROSTHETICS AND PROSTHETISTS AT THE SURGICAL CLINIC
At The Surgical Clinic, we provide a comprehensive and personalized approach to prosthetic care. Our team of specialized surgeons, certified prosthetic assistants, and modern technology work together to ensure that every patient receives the best possible care.
We understand that amputation can be a difficult process, which is why we offer specialized evaluations of surgical options not available elsewhere. Our focus is on getting you moving again, pain-free, and we take into consideration your medical, physiological, and personal factors to determine the right prosthetic prescription for you.
Our expert team of prosthetists at The Surgical Clinic in Nashville, TN, are committed to providing the highest quality care and support tailored specifically to your needs and goals.
We have multiple offices near you to bring our expertise closer to your community. Call us at 615.301.5264 to schedule your consultation or appointment in Nashville, Columbia, Clarksville, Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Dickson, or our state-of-the-art mobile lab.