I have been trying to figure out why my prosthetic has been so uncomfortable lately. For the past week or so, my stump has been feeling like a sausage stuffed into a casing ready to burst. It is becoming increasingly difficult to put my leg on, and I have had to resort to lubricating the liner.
I am constantly releasing pressure in the socket. Many times throughout the day I have been forced to take off the prosthetic completely, which is always risky with Robby around. When Robby Rotten sees that my leg is off, he often seizes the opportunity of having a head start as he dashes to get into mischief.
Typically a tight socket is my first indication that I have gained a few pounds. After taking a deep breathe and repeating the "Peggy is okay" mantra, I stepped onto the scale. My apprehension was unfounded because I have actually lost four pounds! This is a good thing, but I was still perplexed about the ill-fitting socket.
I was riding the bike this morning while watching Good Morning America when I saw a commercial for Skecher's Shape-Ups. Ah Ha! I figured out why my socket has been feeling so tight.
Skechers designed the shoe to tone not only the buttocks, but also the calf and thigh muscles. I bought the shoe because of the "limp reducing" qualities that I discovered. It never occurred to me that the shoes would actually work to tone my muscles. But my tight socket indicates that the shoes might be beneficial on more than one front for the amputee.
My socket is tighter because my stump is bigger. Because my weight has not increased, I can only assume that the Shape Up shoes have been toning my horribly atrophied calf muscle on my residual limb. The calf muscle is becoming stronger and, consequently, it is becoming larger.
I took off my liner and examined my limb. Yes, it does seem to be a little larger. More impressive, I am able to see some definition within the muscle. I am also able to maintain the muscle contraction beyond the 5 or 6 seconds that has been my norm since my amputation. I can now contract the muscle within my residual limb for 45 seconds before I begin to cramp!
I had given up on strengthening this muscle because it seemed all but impossible. I know the importance of utilizing the muscles in my residual limb in order to equalize my weight bearing between my two legs. Equal weight bearing will help thwart arthritis and knee and hip problems on my sound side. Anything that I can do to avoid further orthopedic problems is a good thing!
Curious, I decided to investigate the effects of my Shape Up shoes on my bum. After digging through our junk drawer, I finally found the tape measure. Optimistic after I discovered my weight loss and my stronger stump, I stripped down and took a measurement. There is now an inch and a quarter less of my rear to love!
I bought the Shape Up shoes because the rocker sole practically eliminates my limp. I discovered that they have been doing more. For me, the shoes are magical. My residual limb muscle is stronger. I have been trying for years to obtain the results that I achieved without even trying, merely by wearing these shoes. And, as a bonus, my bum is smaller.
I know that I sound like a walking advertisement, but I assure you that Skechers doesn't even know that I have blogged about them. I just want to share anything I find that can help an amputee, and these do work for me! I am nothing if not enthusiastic when I find something that makes my life easier.
Elsie, my insurance adjuster, will probably not be singing the praises of these shoes. Because my residual limb is larger and more defined, I am going to need a new socket. The battle continues...