Doctors perform amputations because of major illnesses or chronic conditions, but they can also occur after a serious accident or injury. This includes below-the-knee amputations, which can take some adjusting to.
According to Kaiser Permanente, patients must take certain recovery steps while at home. Here are some of those steps, so you can ensure that you or your loved one experiences a smooth, stress-free process.
Physical activity and diet
While you are healing, try to be as active as much as you can. Your doctor will provide instructions on acceptable activities to keep you active without impacting the recovery process. Most people can return to work and basic activities between four and eight weeks after the procedure.
As for diet, nutrition is important. Eat as you normally would, and choose bland foods if you experience stomach upset. Plain chicken, yogurt, and unseasoned rice are good selections.
Take all medications prescribed by your doctor according to the instructions. This is especially important for antibiotics. You must take the entire course to lower your risk of developing an infection. If you are taking pain medication and experience stomach upset or other ill-effects, ask your doctor for a substitute.
As you change bandages or wraps on the affected limb, look for signs of redness and irritation, as they may signal an infection. Wash the surgical site with warm water and soap before re-applying dressings. If you received a temporary prosthetic, take it off at bedtime.
While you must adjust to limb loss and new prosthetic devices, it does not mean that your quality of life or enjoyment will cease. It is possible to lead a full, rich life after below-the-knee amputation when you have the right support and care.