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20 Things Prosthetic Leg-Users Want You To Know

We're a unique breed of bionic people, but we're not the Borg.

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1. Amputation does NOT equal paralysis

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I have nothing but undying respect for people with spinal cord injuries. But people with lower limb amputations are much different. (More on this later.)

2. No two legs are the same

Our prosthetic sockets are carefully and meticulously molded to each of our stumps. Test sockets are made, things are shaped and cut down and built up and re-molded so no, we can’t switch for fun.

4. There’s a BIG difference between above-knee and below-knee

Nothing compares to flesh and bone. The computerized knees they make for above-knee amputees are great, but we can't control them with our brains yet. We make them flex and straighten by shifting our weight.

7. We really, really, REALLY appreciate our ability to walk

Most of us try extremely hard to avoid resorting to wheelchair use, unless we absolutely have to. (But, alas, the world is unpredictable, so we stay open to resourceful solutions to unlikely situations.)

13. We can and do lead normal lives

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And I don’t just mean “normal" by cripple standards. We have normal-person jobs, drive normal-person cars, have normal-person friends and hobbies and fights with our families...

17. We could all use some "splash room"

For some of us, our regular, stable, every-single-day, totally under-control walking just looks really sketchy. But I promise you, we’ve got this.

18. Yes, learning to walk with fake legs was hard

And at times, frustrating. And un-dignified. And discouraging. But it's worth it, when you take those first few unassisted steps.

20. If you have a question, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE just ask

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Being stared at hurts. And that hurt starts to build up inside, when the gawking is all we get. It gets exhausting. But we're understanding- and I cannot stress this enough- all you have to do is talk to us. We're all human.

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