As you would expect from a prosthetics company, our team at Tierney Orthotics and Prosthetics has worked extensively with patients dealing with limb loss. We strive to provide high-quality prosthetic devices to help you restore as much functionality as possible, and we also do our best to educate amputees and their families about what to expect.
In our experience, most people know to expect the loss of function and dexterity that come from limb loss, and many people even know about phantom limb pains, but there are other effects that are not as well-known. We encourage you to keep reading to learn about a few of the lesser-known side effects of limb loss and what you can do about them.
- Fatigue – One effect of limb loss that often takes people by surprise is fatigue. Ordinary activities take more energy than they used to, which often leaves amputees feeling tired and drained. In addition, things like pain medication can contribute to this fatigue, and the psychological impact of the limb loss can also make it worse. Your care team can help you find ways to reduce this fatigue and get your energy back, but for now, we encourage you not to overexert yourself. In addition, if your loved one has lost a limb, try to keep their new limits in mind when planning activities.
- Overheating – When talking about limb loss, most people focus on the loss of muscle and bone, but losing that much of your skin also has a serious effect on your body. If you have a limb amputated, you could be losing roughly 20% of your skin’s surface area, which means you now have far fewer sweat glands. This puts you at a greater risk of heat-related health problems, such as heat exhaustion. When spending time outdoors or when dealing with hot weather, make sure to drink lots of water and take extra precautions to prevent yourself from getting overheated.
- Social Isolation – In our experience, one of the worst effects of limb loss for those who go through it is the sense of social isolation it brings. Many meeting places become inaccessible, and even going to a friend’s home becomes a much more difficult prospect for a recent amputee. This is where friends and family can step up to support loved ones who have lost limbs—make sure to keep in touch with your loved one and offer to drop by their place instead of making them come to you.