It’s never easy for someone to lose a limb, because there will be significant lifetime adjustments that must be made because of the amputation. Yet, healthcare experts agree that there are circumstances, such as an acute injury or chronic vascular problem such as diabetic infection, where a below the knee amputation (BKA) is the best solution. BKA surgery can give the patient the best possible opportunity for a better functioning life with less pain to the lower extremity.
Every amputee can expect to face most or all of the following steps in the post-surgery recovery process:
- Infection prevention
- Pain management
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Tissue massage
- Prosthetic fitting
- Prosthetic use
- Ongoing residual limb care
Below the Knee Amputation RecoveryIn addition to all of the above factors, a below the knee amputation often includes other special circumstances:
- Walking with a prosthetic - Mobility is essential for maintaining your independence, so it is important to start moving as soon as possible after surgery. In the first few days you may use crutches or a walker, but a prosthetic can be fitted as soon as the residual limb has healed sufficiently. Your physical therapist can help you learn how to navigate stairs and other obstacles that you can expect to encounter.
- Residual limb swelling - This is an inevitable side effect of a below the knee amputation, especially as you start to move around more and more. Elevating your residual limb while you rest and employing cold compression therapy can help reduce this swelling, both immediately after surgery and on an ongoing basis.
- Residual limb pressure - The way you disperse your weight will be different with a prosthetic, and can often cause pain or discomfort around the residual limb. Getting your prosthetic properly fitted is important for maintaining comfort, but even the best fitting prosthetic can cause irritation after a long day. Cold compression therapy can help manage the pain associated with prolonged prosthetic use, particularly for below the knee amputees.
Speed up the recovery process for a below the knee amputation with Game Ready's amputee wraps. Designed to fit comfortably on the residual limb, each wrap uses patented ATX (Active Temperature Exchange) technology in combination with pneumatic compression to provide simultaneous, consistent cooling and active compression.
Game Ready amputee wraps can be used at any stage during the recovery process. Right after surgery, active compression is essential for healing, and cold therapy will help reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication. During physical therapy and while learning to use a prosthetic, a cold compression wrap can help reduce pain and swelling. Even after you have completely healed, Game Ready can help you maintain the shape of your residual limb and help you recover from a long day of prosthetic use.
Download our free guide to amputee recovery for more information, or talk to your doctor about getting a Game Ready system to help you with below the knee amputation recovery.
Limb amputations in the U.S. occur for a variety of reasons. The most common is a vascular problem such as diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, accounting for 82 percent of all lower extremity amputations. Trauma is the second most common reason, and affects more men than women. The leading causes of trauma-related lower extremity amputations are machinery injuries (40%), powered tools and appliances (28%), firearms (9%) and car accidents (8%).