Learning to live with a physical disability


Losing a limb or suddenly finding yourself being a wheelchair user is a traumatic, life-changing experience. But one must remember true to human nature; a transition is not only possible; it is achieved by many.

Anel Potgieter, a medical orthotist and prosthetist of Anel Orthotics and Prosthetics in Newcastle, stresses that life does not need to end after being confined to a wheelchair or limb loss. 

Potgieter deals with orthopaedic appliances, custom made insoles, diabetic braces, sport injury braces, wheelchairs, back braces, breast prosthesis and devices.

Looking at life without a limb, Potgieter emphasises, “It is a difficult road, and it is going to be hard, but in the end, the challenge can make your life worthwhile.”

On losing a limb, such as a leg, she urges patients to pursue the process of getting a prosthetic leg fitted. The reason for this is, “A prosthetic leg assists in your mobility. Also, it allows you to be more independent, and you can go on with your life.” S

he highlights a prosthetic leg can offer an individual a healthier and fuller life, especially when your biological leg is problematic in that it affects your mobility and overall health.

When it comes to life in a wheelchair, Potgieter stresses that one should strive to find activities to participate in with others in wheelchairs. “Thanks to modern-day society and developments, one can be in a wheelchair and still lead an active life. There are cars which cater for wheelchair-bound people, as well as sporting activities such as tennis.”

However, she emphasises that it is paramount to obtain a wheelchair that caters to your needs. “It is also important to get a decent wheelchair, as a quality one will not only last longer but assist you with your respective needs.”

According to HelpGuide.org, there are many steps that one can also follow these tips include:

  • Learn to accept your disability and allow yourself to mourn.
  • Learn as much as possible about your disability.
  • Establish realistic goals for yourself. But be patient, as setting overly aggressive goals can lead to setbacks.

It is also recommended to seek guidance from a mental health practitioner to help you make the necessary mental changes in your life while assisting you in coping with your loss.

In conclusion, despite the challenges that lay before you, be sure to allow your friends and family to offer you the necessary support. You do not have to do this alone.

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