How the Pandemic Affects Those with Limb Loss

How the Pandemic Affects Those with Limb Loss

Saturday, 20 February 2021 16:07

It’s been almost a year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic shocked our country. It seemed like everything changed almost overnight. The NBA canceled some events mid-game as the nation suddenly went into lockdown. New terms entered our vocabularies, such as social distancing, remote work, and remote learning. We found new ways to birthdays and holiday traditions during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many have lost people and witnessed love ones suffer. Healthcare workers became heroes, and many have facilitated miraculous recoveries.


How has the pandemic changed things for you and your family? Most have had substantial adjustments to their daily routines, school and work schedules, and the way their families spend time together. In western North Carolina, residents have opted outdoors more than ever. People have been rallying to support small and local businesses. Those companies have found new and innovative ways to serve customers in western North Carolina. There has been some good to come from our struggles. 

Those who have had amputations may be experiencing even more difficulties than usual. Here are some of the ways the pandemic might be affecting your friends and loved ones who have limb loss.

Five Common Pandemic-Related Issues for those with Limb Loss

1) Changes in Routines

After an amputation, a person must re-learn every part of their daily routine. Whether it is a child preparing for school, or an adult preparing for work, every part of the day is different for a season. Eventually, as someone gets used to life with an artificial limb, they will find comfort in their routine. However, routines for all people have changed in the last year. This can be especially challenging for the people in your life who have experienced limb loss. 

2) Support Groups Unable to Meet

Social distancing has been necessary to attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, one of the casualties of social distancing may be the inability of support groups to meet. Of course, over the last 12 months, people have found creative ways to get together without being physically present. If you are missing your support group, there are likely options online. You may need to help your support group set up video conferencing.

3) Safety Concerns

Some have experienced amputations due to complications from cancer, diabetes, and other health concerns. Those very same people may be at greater risk of complications if they get the coronavirus. Therefore, some of your friends and loved ones with limb loss have been unable to interact with people physically for almost a year. Make sure you check in on the people in your life who have been stuck inside their homes during the season for the sake of their health and safety.

4) Traveling Difficulties

It is already challenging to travel throughout the area when you have limb loss. Some areas have not received the maintenance they normally would due to social distancing and safety efforts. That is not to mention new traffic patterns in parking lots and grocery stores. Outdoor recreation areas are busier than ever, even with reduced access to facilities. For those with artificial limbs, traveling during a pandemic can be frustrating. 

5) Canceled Events

Many people who are differently-abled or use artificial limbs look forward to events like the Paralympics, as well as local marathons and triathlons, half-marathons, 5K running events, and endurance races. During the pandemic, many of those events have been canceled or postponed indefinitely. Endurance races and athletic challenges help the differently-abled find normalcy. Training for them and accomplishing goals along the way is rewarding. Crossing the finish line can feel like turning the page on a new chapter of life with limb loss. If your loved one has had one of their favorite events canceled, make sure you check in and perhaps offer to run, bike, swim, or kayak with them at a safe distance during the spring.

6) Family Gatherings Rescheduled

Family gatherings can be challenging for people who have recently lost limbs. However, they can also be a source of normalcy. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday events across the area were canceled, postpone, or done via video conferencing. These canceled gatherings may have been of great frustration to those who were looking forward to just seeing family and friends for people with limb loss. 

While this has been a challenging time for you and your family, make sure you check in with the people in your life who have limb loss. There are several ways you can help:

  • Give them a call to see how they are doing. 
  • Find creative ways to spend time together, even if it is just online.
  • Find out if you can help facilitate a support group meeting, even if it is just digitally. 
  • Ask if you can help recreate some of the benefits of an endurance event. 
  • Bring a meal and, if possible, spend some socially distanced one-on-one time with them. 

The team at Orthopedic Appliance Company is here to help. If you would like more information about our high-quality prosthetic devices and artificial limbs, please contact us