Alexander Lyons, C.P.O

Commonly Asked Questions


I’m an amputee and I’m interested in extreme sports; where do I begin?

Extremity Games 7 (eX7) would be a great place to start! Extremity Games Motocross is scheduled for May 26 in Millington, Michigan and Extremity Games Main Event is scheduled for June 22-23 in San Antonio, Texas. Extremity Games is an extreme sports event including competitions, instructional clinics and exhibitions for athletes with amputations and spinal cord injuries.

Motocross: Extremity Games Motocross will be broken out into two divisions: AMP (i.e. amputee, etc) and PARA (paraplegic, quadriplegic, etc). Riders will race a Two-Moto format during Baja Acres’ Memorial Day race weekend. Athletes will be competing for a cash purse.

Main Event: Extremity Games Main Event includes competitions and instructional clinics in skateboarding, speed rock climbing, wakeboarding, sit-boarding, kayaking and cross country mountain biking. Exhibitions include motocross and mixed martial arts.

A full-day of instructional clinics and Athlete Sign-in are set for Friday, June 22 from 9 am – 3 pm at the Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas, which will be followed by the Athlete Sign-in and Welcome Reception at the host hotel from 6-9 pm.

eX7 Main Event Competitions run on Saturday, June 23 from 8 am – 5 pm. Extremity Games concludes Saturday evening with an award ceremony and BBQ at Texas Ski Ranch. All are welcome to join the BBQ awards celebration. Tickets are available on-line or at the door

Elite and Novice competitions are available at eX7 Main Event. Elite competition athletes will compete for cash prizes, while Novice competition athletes will compete for prizes. Cash prizes will be determined by the amount of participants in each competition/division.
Click here for more info.

What should I do when facing an amputation?

Contact our office at 843-347-5800 for a pre-surgical consultation at no charge.

How do I choose a prosthetist and prosthetic facility?

You will be working with your prosthetist more closely than any other health care provider therefore you should ask questions before committing to a prosthetist.

  • How many patients with your level of amputation has this prosthetist worked with?
  • Ask about their success rate.
  • Is the prosthetist you’re considering licensed and certified?
  • Do you like the prosthetist?

How much will my prosthetic care cost?

The best way to find out about the cost of your prosthetic care is to call our office and talk with a financial counselor. They will talk to you about your insurance coverage and co-pays. If you don’t have insurance, they will help you find a pay source.

Does prosthetic care at your facility cost more than others?

No. If we are contracted with your insurance company, we can only bill the contracted rate. If we not contracted, we make every effort to keep costs at a minimum and to negotiate rates with your insurance company.

How long will it take to get my prosthesis?

The average below-knee definitive prosthesis requires 10 appointments for fitting and delivery. An average above-knee definitive prosthesis requires 15 appointments. A temporary prosthesis requires approximately 5 appointments. We never promise that we will complete your prosthesis in less time than this, but we will promise that you will receive the absolute best care possible.

What can I do about phantom pain?

Phantom limb pain or sensation is the feeling that the amputated limb is still present. Virtually all amputees have phantom sensations to some degree; a much smaller percentage has phantom pain. Phantom pain, significant enough to cause a patient to seek medical care, occurs in approximately 5 to 10% of the amputee population. Phantom limb pain appears to be more common in patients who lose a limb at an older age. Phantom limb pain may develop immediately after injury or may develop weeks, months, or even years after the injury.

The pain may vary from a continuous cramping, aching, and burning to an electric shock-like sensation. Stress, anxiety, fear or fatigue will usually increase the patient’s discomfort. There are many different types of therapies that have attempted to relieve this pain, ranging from acupuncture to complicated surgical procedures. The best initial treatment is to determine the factors which increase the pain and to eliminate these factors. Psychological and environmental factors can play a major role in the genesis of pain behavior. Therapies such as massage, wearing a shrinker, and looking into mirrors are conservative treatments that often work.

How can I find a support group?

Contact our office at 843-347-5800 for information about local support groups. The Amputee Coalition of America also has a listing of support groups nationwide – www.amputee-coalition.org.

How often should I see my prosthetist?

You should see your prosthetist every six months or if either of the following occurs:

  • You’ve experience weight gain or loss, even if it’s 5 lbs. or 2% of your body weight.
  • Your activity level has changed.

How long is my prosthesis supposed to last?

The useful lifespan of your prosthesis depends on several factors. Changes in the residual limb volume (size) often necessitate modifying or replacing the socket to maintain a proper and comfortable fit. Changes in activity level, body weight, component fatigue and general wear and tear are all factors that determine the lifespan of the rest of the prosthesis. It is critical that your prosthesis fit properly and be in sound physical condition to withstand the forces placed on it daily. I recommend that prostheses be evaluated and safety-checked at least every 6 months by a certified prosthetist. Often, major problems can be prevented by early detection.

How can I control perspiration in my prosthesis?

Different people have different levels of perspiration. New amputees often experience a period of high levels of residual limb perspiration when first wearing their prosthesis. This heavy perspiration period generally subsides as your limb adjusts to its environment inside the socket. If unusually heavy perspiration continues, your physician may prescribe specially formulated antiperspirants, such as Drysol®.

What are some tips for donning my shrinker as a new amputee?

The video ’03: Applying a shrinker from the Amputee Coalition is a great visual aid. Watch it and many other great videos on the Amputee Coalition website.

Am I missing out by not using these high tech prosthetic devices on the news?

These are very exciting times in the world of prosthetics! High-tech devices and components are being developed at a rapid pace, giving you, the user, lots of options to explore.

If you find all of these choices confusing, you are not alone. Many people come to us asking this same question. Whether you are a new amputee or not, it is wise to ask questions and educate yourself on all the options available before making a decision about what prosthesis is right for YOU. If you’ve got specific questions about things you see on tv or the internet, just give me a call or make an appointment and I’ll be happy to talk to you about it.

Where can I find reference information for amputees in Spanish?

The Amputee Coalition is a great resource. They have a lot of information written specifically for Spanish speakers.  Amputee Coalition website

How do I care for diabetic feet?

WebMD

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Foot Care Tip 1. Check both feet daily.
Look over both feet carefully every day, and be sure you check between all of your toes. Blisters and infections can start between your toes, and with diabetic neuropathy, you may not feel them until they’ve become irritated or infected. If a physical challenge keeps you from checking your own feet, ask a family member to help.

Foot Care Tip 2. Wash with warm – not hot – water.
Wash both of your feet briefly each day with warm – not hot – water. You may not be able to feel heat with your feet, so test the water with your hands first. Avoid soaking too long in water, since waterlogged sores have a harder time healing. Dry your feet right away, and remember to dry gently between all of your toes.

8 More Tips

What is some advice for losing weight as an above the knee amputee?

Take a look at “The Implications of Amputees Being Overweight” by Jason T. Kahle, CPO, LPO and M. Jason Highsmith, DPT, CP, FAAOP. You’ll find a lot of useful information… click here.

How can I help with the amputees in Boston?

The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) is leading a coalition to provide access to care for uninsured/underinsured amputee victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing to assure that all victims “will walk and run again”.

Leaders of manufacturer and patient care facility members of AOPA and coalition partners have pledged to connect these amputees and those with related mobility impairment with the needed specialized care for those who may not have any health insurance or the means to assure access to the needed care and artificial limbs, customized bracing and mobility assistive devices. The prosthetic and orthotic care and componentry will be provided at no cost to those patients. The coalition of AOPA members and those affiliated with the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics and the Amputee Coalition have mobilized their national membership networks to provide care access and support. Click here for more info.

How can I protect my skin while wearing an orthotic device?

Use Appropriate Socks

Using proper socks can be a major step to ensuring your skin stays dry.  Athletic socks with padding that are made of acrylic, yarns, polyesters, nylon, or wool are suggested.  They should preferably also be made of white material so that any blistering will show in the sock

Reduce Sweating

Normally sweating will decrease over time. If excessive sweating persists then the use of topical aluminum chloride solution (Drysol) under the direction of a physician can reduce it.

Wear Proper Shoes

Proper fitting shoes that can accommodate for the extra volume of an orthotic device can help maintain skin health.  Sometimes a shoe that is half a size larger or a different type of shoe with a larger range of widths will work for this.

Consider Modifications

Now and then you may require a change in your orthotic device if epidermal challenges persist.  Modifications to the current device can often fix pressure issues, sores, and abrasions, however a complete change in a device is sometimes required.