Frequently Asked Questions

What information do I need to have at my first appointment?
  • A prescription from your physician stating your diagnosis
  • A Manitoba Health Card
  • Treaty status card, EIA, Workers Compensation Board information, or Manitoba Public Insurance information if applicable
Do I need a prescription?
  • Yes, a valid prescription from your physician is required for all new Prostheses and Orthoses.

Prosthetics

Who is a Prosthetist?
A "Prosthetist" provides care to patients with partial or total absence of a limb by evaluating, designing, fabricating, fitting and aligning those artificial limbs known as "prostheses".
I'm facing an amputation. What should I do first?
Contact our office at 204-233-3942 or 800-661-8777 and make an appointment with a Prosthetist for a free pre-surgical consultation.
How much will my prosthetic care cost?
  • Basic Prosthetic coverage in Manitoba is covered 100% with a valid Manitoba Health Card.
  • If you require a Prosthesis for a specific activity (eg. running or swimming) there may be some costs to you. Some private insurance plans may cover a percentage of those costs (Blue Cross, London Life, GreatWest Life, etc).
  • If your amputation was the result of a workplace injury or a motor vehicle accident (WCB or MPI insurance claim) may also cover additional costs.
How soon will I have my prosthesis?
This can vary significantly depending on your particular situation or if we need to order specific components or materials for your Prosthesis, but generally within 1 week.
How do I take care of my prosthetic liners?
  • Liners should be washed every night with a mild soap (not recommended to use an antibacterial soap), rinsed well and hung (fabric side out) to dry with a drying stand. Incorporating switching from one liner to the other liner every day (typically you are supplied two liners), this will prolong the life of your liners and give the gel time to relax to its normal shape.
  • It is recommended to use Rubbing Alcohol once a week to kill any possible bacteria that the mild soap will not kill. Do not forget to rinse the liner afterwards.
  • We cannot emphasize enough the importance of daily cleaning of your liners
  • Never leave your liner inside-out (with the gel facing out) for extended periods of time, this is not the natural state of the gel and this may deteriorate the integrity of the liner.
I sometimes get a skin rash, why?
  • A rash can sometimes develop on the skin when wearing a liner...
    • If the rash is closer to the top of where the liner ends, this can result by how the liner is put on. Always roll on your liner, and don't pull on it to remove any wrinkles. A non-perfumed hand cream along the top edge can help cut down on the friction associated with this outbreak.
    • If the rash is over the limb globally wash your liner thoroughly, and make sure you are using a gentle non-perfumed soap. If the problem persists contact your prosthestist.
    • Never lay your liner down with the gel facing out. The tackiness of the liner will pick up dirt and possible bacteria. That dirt/bacteria can then be trapped against your skin and cause skin problems.
  • A rash does not have to be exclusively limited wearing a liner, it can also be due to:
    • Heat within the socket
    • Dirty prosthetic socks; if you wear only socks within the socket ensure that the socks are washed regularly
When do I need to add or remove a prosthetic sock?
  • Knowing when to add or remove a sock, especially for a new amputee, can be hard to recognize. If you are experiencing pain or increased pressure at the end of your residual limb then we advise adding a sock in 1 ply increments until the pain is relieved. This may sound counterproductive as you might think that by adding a sock this will make the prosthesis tighter, BUT in actuality you are replacing volume lost, and effectively lifting yourself out of the bottom of the socket.
  • It is very important not to add too many socks. If you add too many socks then your residual limb will be held too far away from the end of the socket. This might sound like a good idea, but we do want your residual limb to have some contact with the end of the socket. Without some contact you could develop problems with your skin.
  • If you find that no matter how many socks you play with, and you cannot achieve a comfortable fit, please call and make an appointment with your Prosthetist..
What's the difference between phantom pain and phantom sensation?
Phantom Pain
Phantom limb pain is the feeling of pain in the section of the limb that has been amputated. The pain may vary from a continuous cramping, aching, and burning to an electric shock-like sensation. Stress, anxiety, fear or fatigue will usually increase the frequency. The best initial treatment is to determine the factors which increase the pain and to eliminate these factors. Psychological and environmental factors can play a major role in the genesis of pain behavior. Therapies such as massage, wearing a shrinker sock, and using the mirror-box are conservative treatments that often work. Phantom pain can be significant enough to cause an amputee to seek medical care. We can refer you to a Rehab Physician if you suffer from a high level of phantom pain.
Phantom Sensation
Most amputees have phantom sensations to some degree. Phantom sensation of feeling that the amputated limb is still attached to the body and is moving appropriately with other body parts. Other sensations can vary from warmth, cold, itching, squeezing, tightness, and tingling.
I'm going on vacation, what should I take with me?
  • My Prosthetists phone number in case of emergency
  • Prosthetic socks
  • Skin cream (Note: if flying, more than 100ml must be checked in baggage)
  • Both Prosthetic liners and drying stand (if applicable)
How often should I see my Prosthetist?
It's routine to see your Prosthetist every six months or if either of the following occurs:
  • You experience any pain or discomfort in your residual limb.
  • You've experience weight gain or loss, even if it's 10 lbs.
  • Your activity level has changed.
  • Your liner is showing wear.
  • Damage to your prosthesis.

Orthotics

Who is an Orthotist?
An "Orthotist" provides care to patients with disabling conditions of the neuromuscular-skeletal structures of the body by evaluating, designing, fabricating, and aligning "braces" (but not including dental braces) known as "orthoses".
What should I bring to the initial appointment?
  • Your old device, prescription, the shoes you wear the most, or anything else related to orthotic care
  • If you are having a wrist brace made for work- bring the gloves you use.
  • If you know you are coming for care with your knee or thigh, bring shorts.
How much will my Orthotic care cost me?
Currently in Manitoba the majority of Orthotic care is covered by Manitoba Health with a signed prescription by a medical doctor and the diagnosis is chronic in nature. Some acute conditions (such as a fractures) are covered, but you should check with your Orthotist first.
Are Foot Orthotics covered by insurance?
Depending on your extended medical plan they may be. If you contact your plan administrator they should be able to tell you if they are covered. It is good idea to ask what the percentage of coverage is to what maximum, (example, 80% to a maximum of 300$). Manitoba Health does not cover Foot Orthotics.
Why are Certified Orthotists best qualified to provide knee braces and foot orthotics?
Certified Orthotists have extensive post secondary education training specific to orthoses. The majority of orthoses are fabricated in our clinic. Should you require repairs or adjustments they can for the most part be done while you wait.
When will I receive my Orthosis?
As a general guideline we try to provide you with your Orthosis within 3 weeks of the initial evaluation. The majority of orthoses are custom made to your individual needs and can be very labor intensive. This time frame is dependent on several factors and can be shortened should it be urgent.
I'm going on vacation, what should I take with me?
When planning for a trip ensure that the brace is in good repair if you plan to take it with you. There may be extra screening required if you are wearing any type of structural Orthosis. Typically there is no extra documentation required but it is always a good idea to check with CATSA well before the departure date.
How often should I see my Orthotist?
Typically you see your Orthotist for initial evaluation, fitting and a follow-up visit 4 weeks after the fitting. Depending on the complexity there may be extra visits required. Should your condition change, the orthosis require adjustment or repair further visits may be required. For the most part these visits are also covered by Manitoba Health if they covered the initial brace.