After ten long weeks, I am finally mobile again with my prosthesis. It feels wonderful to be up and ambulatory, although the progress has also heralded some other issues. Getting fitted for a new prosthesis is a long process, especially when it is happening after a major revision surgery.
This has been the most frustrating experience I have had crafting a new socket. My limb is still tender, and the nerve bundles are angry. Pressure on the wrong spot makes it impossible to fully weight my leg, resulting in an awkward and exhausting gait. Unfortunately, the only way to detect the “wrong spots” is through trial and error.
Many people have asked me what it feels like when a socket doesn’t fit correctly. It is impossible to accurately describe the feeling to somebody who has never donned a prosthesis. The most accurate comparison might be trying to squeeze your foot into a shoe that is 1.5 sizes too small. Now put a small rock under the arch of your foot before squeezing into the shoe, and pull the laces tightly. Each step brings a new level of discomfort, and you constantly shift your weight to find relief from the tightening pain.
Most of the adjustments to my socket must be done by my Prosthetist, who painstakingly blows out the plastic in the quest to create a perfect fit. Unfortunately we are also contending with my limb shrinking in volume, which means that the socket needs to be constantly reduced in size. I can wear socks to pad the void, but this is just a stopgap measure.
Donning too many socks makes it difficult to wear the leg, so I have adopted a different approach. I have discovered that putting moleskin on the inside of my socket can provide me with a great deal of relief between prosthetic fittings. Not only does the moleskin pad the socket and fill the void left by my shrinking leg, but strategically placing it can help to alleviate pressure spots.
The next few weeks we will continue to tweak my socket, but I know that we are on the right track. Until my limb stops shrinking and the nerves quiet down, my roll of moleskin won’t be out of reach. I’m able to make my own small adjustments which afford me a great deal of relief.