Adjusting To An Artificial Limb

Michelle Hopkins

Everyone reacts to losing a limb differently. It isn't a simple process, and it's normal to experience feelings of shock, anger, and depression. However, with a good support system, planning, and determination, you can adjust to your new artificial limb and continue to live a happy, fulfilled life.

Prepare Yourself Emotionally

If possible begin preparing yourself emotionally before your amputation surgery. Even though you don't know exactly how you will react once your surgery is complete, trying to cope with your emotions before the surgery can make your post-surgery experience easier.

  • Talk to your friends and family about your feelings, especially any fears that you have.
  • Discuss the ways that your daily life will change after your surgery with the members I. Your household and make any changes needed to your home.
  • Join a support group for amputees to talk about your feelings, your surgery, and your recovery with people who really understand what you're going through.

Have Your Prosthetic Fitted Regularly

After your amputation surgery, the remainder of your limb is swollen. As the limb heals, the size and shape of the limb changes. So, you need to have regular fittings for your prosthetic. After all, if your artificial limb is uncomfortable, you're less likely to use it. Make sure you tell your prosthetist from a company like Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic about any pain or pressure you're feeling so that he or she can make the necessary adjustments.


The stronger your muscles are before surgery, the less reconditioning they will need post surgery. Ask your doctor what type of exercises will build up the muscles around the amputated area, and complete the exercises three to four times per week.

Know What to Expect

Don't expect to adjust to using your prosthetic immediately. It takes time. Not only do you need to adjust to using the artificial limb, but the muscles in the remaining portion of your natural limb need to be rebuild. You should expect to work with a rehabilitation team for approximately six months to one year after your amputation surgery.

Have the Proper Equipment at Home

Many amputees continue to use a wheelchair, walker, or crutches at home. The more you use your prosthetic, the faster you'll adjust to it. However, you should keep equipment handy, if needed, for things like middle-of-the-night bathroom trips or any other time that you need to be able to get around without putting on your prosthetic.

Adjusting to a new prosthetic isn't simple. It takes time and focus. However, by dealing with your emotions before your surgery, knowing what to expect, and having a solid support group, the transition will be a lot easier for you.