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How to Prepare for Limb Deformity Correction
Daily activities such as getting dressed, running errands, cooking, cleaning, and driving may take more time and energy. You may be limited with what you can do and should consult your doctor for guidance in regard to typical day to day activities.
Temporary lifestyle changes should be expected when wearing your external fixator. Although these changes may present challenges, you can be prepared by understanding what to expect and making adjustments before treatment.
Daily activities such as getting dressed, running errands, cooking, cleaning, and driving may take more time and energy. You may be limited with what you can do and should consult your doctor for guidance in regard to typical day to day activities. Knowing your home is ready for you after surgery may bring you relief, and it may also allow you to be more productive during your recovery.
Certain types of clothing may be easier to wear than others. You can also modify your clothes to fit around and protect your frame. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare.
If you are wearing an external fixator on your leg:
- Think about how you will get your pants or shorts on and off. Snap-on pants or shorts may be a good option. Some can snap on/off all the way up to the waistband making it easy to get on and take off.
- Athletic shorts with an elastic band and wide legs are a good option during warm weather. Sweat pants with wide legs may be a good option for cold weather.
- For women, consider dresses that you can slip on from your head and over your legs. You may also want to consider skirts that are loose-fitting and have an elastic waistband.
- You can alter your pants by splitting the leg up the seam and adding a triangle piece of fabric to widen the leg. Another way is to use an oversized pants leg, split the seam, and add either Velcro or snaps.
- You can alter underwear as well. For women and girls, one good compromise is oversized "petti-pants" because they have wide legs. These can be split on the seam, with snaps or Velcro added for closure.
If you are wearing an external fixator on your arm:
- You can alter your shirts by splitting the sleeve up the seam, adding a triangle of fabric to make the sleeve wider. You can also split the seam and add either Velcro or snaps.
- Consider a shawl, cape or scarf to keep warm during colder weather.
- Baggy tank tops may be easier to pull over your arm with the frame and then around your neck and your other arm.
If you are wearing an external fixator on your foot:
- Toe covers or toe half socks can be worn over your toes and help to keep you warm. There is an option to add a rubber sole to the bottom of your foot frame. Your doctor may suggest this when you are ready to put weight on your foot. Ask your doctor if this is an appropriate option for you.
External Fixation Covers:
- Some people may be more comfortable in public with covers over their frame. This is also a good option at home if you have furry pets. One easy way to make such a cover is to use a pillowcase, splitting it as needed, adding Velcro or snaps, and running a ribbon through the hem. Some insurance plans may cover this.
Don’t forget that your climate can have a direct impact on your clothing needs. Consider the duration of your treatment plan and the various seasons ahead.
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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
The performance of limb deformity surgery depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell if limb deformity surgery is right for you.