April is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month. Throughout this month (and every month of the year, for that matter), it’s essential to drive awareness, advocacy, and support to the amputee community. The Amputee Coalition named April National Limb Loss Awareness Month back in 2010, and today the month is celebrated across the United States and around the world. Below, we discover more about the initiative, how you can get involved, and how Westcoast Brace & Limb raised awareness. 

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What is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month?

The Amputee Coalition created Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month to honor the community and educate others about what it’s like to live with limb loss and limb difference.

What does The Amputee Coalition do?

According to The Amputee Coalition, “Together with our thousands of supporters, the Amputee Coalition is dedicated to ensuring that no one faces limb loss alone. We work to provide people with limb loss and limb difference, their families and caregivers the resources they need to recover, readjust and live life fully with limb loss/difference.”

How is the initiative branded?

The color of National Limb Loss Awareness Month (also known as LLAM) is bright orange, with an orange ribbon as their symbol, and #LLAM as the official social media hashtag.

Why is it important to raise awareness around limb loss?

More than 2 million Americans live with limb loss or limb difference, and more than 28 million are at risk of amputation surgery.

What’s considered a lost limb?

Amputation is the surgical removal of all or part of a limb or extremity such as an arm, leg, foot, hand, toe, or finger. About 1.8 million Americans are living with amputations. Amputation of the leg (either above or below the knee) is the most common amputation surgery.

What struggles does someone with a lost limb face?

Coping with a limb difference or deficiency involves everything from accepting the appearance, battling body image concerns, and learning to use adaptive prosthetic equipment to maximize function. The loss of a leg or arm can impact a person’s ability to walk or balance correctly. Daily life will be forever changed. The person may also experience what is referred to as phantom pain. The loss of a limb requires major adjustment, both for the person and their family and friends.

What’s being done to help alleviate these struggles? 

Whether you, a friend, or a family member is facing amputation or has been impacted by limb loss or limb difference in any way, the Amputee Coalition offers several ways to find useful information, support, and encouragement when it is needed most. They also provide support through The Amputee Coalition Support App, and have over 400 registered support groups throughout the country.

In terms of technology, prostheses have progressed significantly over the last few years. This is evident in the number of people choosing to move away from standard prostheses to highly functioning and technologically advanced devices. Not only can these new and improved prosthetics often offer greater comfort, range of movement, and durability, but they are also suitable for a wide range of sporting activities, including running, swimming, and cycling. 

Did you know there are approximately 10,000 new upper extremity amputations in the United States every year? WCBL has an in-depth understanding of an upper extremity amputee’s unique needs when it comes to upper extremity prosthetists. Having extensive exposure working with a variety of upper extremity amputation levels and the techniques and technology that help make upper extremity prosthetic users successful, WCBL’s practitioners provide unparalleled patient experiences and outcomes.

How did WCBL raise awareness and celebrate during April?  

For LLAM, during the month of April, WCBL passed out orange #LLAM awareness ribbons for staff, patients, and community medical partners to wear. WCBL team members had the opportunity to donate $5 each week to wear jeans and orange shirts or accessories on Fridays during April. The donations were collected and given to the local group, Ye Notorious Krewe of Peg Leg Pirate, Inc. The Krewe is a 501c3 whose mission is to assist amputees and their families as needed for living or medical expenses. Additionally, WCBL’s amputee support group, Without Limits, held group gatherings and participated in educational clinics for amputees. 

How can others get involved? 

Around the world, people dedicate their time and energy to raise limb loss awareness and fundraise for these expensive needs. They hold events in their communities to empower people affected by limb loss to achieve their full potential. There are an estimated 65 million people worldwide living with limb loss. Only 1 in 10 of those in need have access to assistive devices, driven by clinical care barriers, insufficient clinical expertise, staffing levels, and infrastructure. Supporting organizations and groups that help raise funds for amputees is a great way for others to get involved. To donate to the Amputee Coalition, click here. 

Contact Us Today

Westcoast Brace & Limb is West Central Florida’s leading provider of custom orthotic and prosthetic devices. We work closely with our physician, therapist, case manager, and insurance partners to help provide unsurpassed patient care. On top of this, we also facilitate a Without Limits Amputee Support Group and provide continuing education opportunities for nurses, occupational/physical therapists, nurse case managers, physicians, and other allied health professionals.

To find out more about the Amputee Coalition and Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month, visit www.amputee-coalition.org.