Artificial Legs

First impressions on Learning to Walk

It is the most amazing feeling to be on two feet again and yet strange, as you need to develop a new perception of where your artificial limb is and how to move it. The first time, you will probably get the impression that it is too heavy. Actually, a human leg weighs about 12kg (26lb) and few, if any, prosthetic limbs weigh that much. The reason your artificial limb seems so heavy is that you are not used to using it. Our own limbs seem to be almost weightless because they are highly efficient machines and we have had a lifetime of practice in using them. Of course, the artificial limb is not as efficient as your own leg, but as you get better at using the new one, it will not seem heavy.

One step at a time

When you were a baby, it took a lot of time and practice before you could walk well. Learning to walk again needs just as much effort. Developing good posture and walking technique early on certainly enhances the quality of your walking.

When learning to walk with your artificial limb, it is extremely important to learn each part of the walking process separately and in the right order. You must learn each part, and practise till you are very good at it, before you go on to the next step. These steps are:

  •     Balancing
  •     Weight transference
  •     Single stepping without moving forward;
  •     Marking time on the spot.
After you have mastered each of these steps, then, and only then, must you actually start to move forward. You will begin to walk between walking rails. Resist the temptation to take most of your weight on your hands instead of using your prosthetic and normal leg. After you have learnt to walk between the walk rails, you will continue with walking sticks. Finally, it is quite likely that you will be able to walk without any help at all.

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