People are often concerned about the costs involved in getting a prosthesis. In Australia, there are a number of different funding schemes and it can be easy to get confused and to know what you are eligible for.
It's fantastic you are here and thank you for your interest in being part of our 'Get Your Ribbon On' campaign to raise awareness of limb loss in Australia.
October 4 - 11
Here is what you can do to get involved.
Wear your National Amputee Awareness ribbon to show your support. If you haven't received your ribbon, you can still show your support by joining our social media campaign and adding a virtual ribbon to your Facebook or Twitter profile. You can do this by visiting us on Facebook and/or Twitter and follow the prompts. Alternatively you can download the ribbon here.
Send us your individual and/or group photos wearing your ribbon and we will share it across our social media channels during Awareness Week.
One last thing... when sharing your pictures on social media remember to use the hashtags #GetYourRibbonOn and #NAAW19.
Thank you for supporting National Amputee Awareness Week!
In Australia the main causes of amputation include diabetes, vascular disease, cancer, traumatic accident, infection and congenital birth deficiencies.
The latest figures indicate that 8,500 lower limb (leg and foot) amputations are performed each year in Australia. This does not include upper limb (arm) amputations or limb differences due to congenital birth deficiencies. (1)
Australia has a poor record with regards diabetes-related amputation and over the past decade our amputation rate has increased by 30 per cent. We currently have the second highest rate of diabetes-related amputations in the developed world, behind the United States. (2)
Diabetic Foot Disease is Australia’s leading cause of amputations, with a limb amputated because of this every two hours. (3)
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease, can be caused by diabetes, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of cardiovascular disease. PAD can lead to a reduced blow flow to the limbs, which can result in the limb developing gangrene, where it starts to decay and die. Every three hours in Australia, one person has an arm or leg amputated due to PAD. (4)
Major limb amputations are 38 times more likely in Indigenous Australians aged 25-49 years. (5)
Dillon, MP., Fortington, LV., Akram, M., Erbas, B., & Kohler, F. (2017). Geographic Variation of the Incidence Rate of Lower Limb Amputation in Australia from 2007-12. PLoS ONE, 12(1)
Norman, P., Schoen, D., Gurr, J., Kolybaba, M. (2010) High rates of amputation among indigenous people in Western Australia. Med J Aust, 192: 421
Misconception: An amputee will never want to talk about their experience or prosthesis (artificial limb).
Truth: This is a personal choice, and whether someone wants to talk about their limb loss or prosthesis use will vary from person to person. Whether a person wears a prosthesis or not, many people will kindly respond to respectful questions about what led to their limb loss and/or information about their prosthesis.
Misconception: All amputations happen because a person has an accident.
Truth: Some people lose a limb because of a traumatic accident, but an even greater number experience an amputation due to diabetes, vascular disease, cancer and infections.
Misconception: Amputees can never walk normally again.
Truth: Although some people who have lost one or both legs may limp or shuffle their feet this can be due to a range of factors, such as other health conditions they may have. The ability to walk safely and more normally is generally because their prosthetic leg (or arm) has been customised to suit only them – a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not possible. This is why prosthetic legs, and arms, are made by qualified prosthetists who are skilled in developing, fitting, adjusting and checking amputees’ prostheses. Once an amputee has adjusted to their prosthesis and been trained to use it well, most are able to walk more normally again.
Misconception: Amputees are unable to work.
Truth: Over 2 million Australians of working age with a wide range of disabilities, including limb loss, are active members of the labour force. Australians with disability contribute to our economy by paying taxes, purchasing products and services, and contributing to the output of businesses. You might have worked with or been serviced by an amputee and not even realised it.
Misconception: Amputees can’t participate in sport.
Truth: It is true that some people with limb loss might be unable to or find it difficult to participate in sporting activities. However, a great many find that with the right support and assistive technology (prosthesis, wheelchair and other items) they participate in a range of sporting and recreation activities.