Frequently Asked Questions about the POWELLprocess and how we work with you.


Q: How do I contact my Practitioner for an adjustment or repair?
A: Contact POWELL to schedule an appointment for an adjustment. If it is after hours call our emergency line so the on call practitioner can assess the situation.

Q: What do I do if my device does not fit properly anymore?
A: Contact POWELL to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.

Q: Do we need a Rx (prescription) and Why?
A: YES. Most Insurance companies require a Rx. We do free consultations if you just need to talk to someone about your current or new device.

Q: How long does it take to get an orthosis?
A: For a custom device: when we have all the proper paperwork back from the physician and approval from the insurance company usually about 2-3 weeks. Non-custom maybe sooner.

Q: Does my insurance cover my device or services?
A: We provide a list of insurance companies that we work with through our process. If your insurance company is not on the list, please contact us and let POWELL know your insurance company and we will be happy to look into working with them.

Q: Do I have to have an appointment?
A: Yes, to ensure you have uninterrupted time with a practitioner. Please contact us at 804-649-9043. You can request an appointment online or call the main number to schedule an appointment.

Q: Will I need to go to therapy with my first device?
A: Yes, it takes training on a new brace or artificial limb to walk and use it properly.  

Q:How long before I can walk, run, cut the grass?
A: Individual progress is sometimes hard to gauge. Your progress depends on your therapist, physician and your POWELL practitioner.  The Rehab team can help you decide when the time is right.



Q: Do I sleep with my prosthesis on?
A: No. Think of the prosthesis like a pair of shoes, and take it off before you go to bed.

Q: Can I shower with my prosthesis?
A: There are shower prostheses but safety is always the biggest issue. Most amputees may use their device to help them get situated on a shower seat or get into the tub but will take it off once situated. Most standard prosthetic devices do have components that may rust or corrode so it is not advised to expose them to water long term. It may also void any warranty that comes with the components used. Most prostheses are water resistant to low levels like walking in the rain but not water proof like swimming unless designed for that purpose.

Q: Do I need to see my Physician before I can get a prosthesis or new/replacement supplies?
A: You must have a prescription from a physician in order to get prosthesis.  Most physicians need to have seen you in the past 6 months before they will write a prescription.  We are able to work with you and your physician to request a prescription if you have seen them recently. 

Q: How long do I have to wear my shrinker?
A: This really depends on the individual but on average most amputees find themselves needing to wear the shrinker consistently all day and night unless physician says otherwise (not in the shower of course and always monitoring their skin frequently checking for any possible breakdowns). If patient is wearing the prosthetic device then they should not be wearing the shrinker until they take off prosthesis. Most amputees find themselves using the shrinker for the first year or more post amputation. The residual limb is still undergoing many changes and the shrinker aids in keeping the residual limb consistent in size cutting down on the fluxuations the limb undergoes in a day-to-day period. This makes the prosthetic fitting a more consistent process. Some amputees like to continue wearing the shrinker after the limb has stabilized.

Q: Why don't they add a custom shaping on the preparatory prosthesis?
A: The preparatory process is such a short span of time and the alignment during Rehab changes as the patient gets stronger and more aggressive. Your Prosthetist and Physical Therapist need to be able to evaluate the alignment and need to make changes to keep up with the patients progress so the cosmesis does get in the way as well as obstructs the view needed to get a good alignment on the device.

Q: How long will I stay in my Preparatory device?
A: On average 3 to 6 months or when you reach a 10 to 12 ply fit. The preparatory is used to shape the residual limb as well as strengthen the limb. Usually during this process, the limb changes and begins to shrink down in size. The first definitive device is usually a glorified preparatory due to the limb still changing. Most changes occur and level off after the 1-1/2 years.

Q: Can I drive a car with lower limb my prosthesis?
A: It is highly recommended that if you are dealing with a right limb amputation that you have your automobile modified. Most lower limb amputees add a second gas pedal on the opposite side of the brake by a certified dealer. It is an easy transition and made so you can flip either gas pedal out of the way, so others can drive your car. Usually it is done by adding a bracket from the existing gas pedal to the new one added. If you are a bilateral hand controls may be added. Driving a clutch is a tricky and tough thing to and usually not recommended for legal purposes.

Q: How long does it take to get the prosthesis after the casting?
A: On average two weeks, more time is spent getting the paperwork straight from the insurance company and getting components in. The process can be faster if needed but that is assuming insurance has met all requirements and prosthesis has been authorized and all components are in house.


Orthotics FAQ

Q: Where can I get shoes to fit over my brace?
A: Often you will have to go up one shoe size from your usual size to accommodate the brace. They have been designed to accommodate braces. We can offer you a selection of shoes or you can fit at a local store like Saxons, Nordstrom’s or Red Wing. Many New Balance shoes have removable inserts that will accommodate the in the shoe brace.

Q: How long will my foot Orthotics last?
A: Many variables come into play with regard to a device’s useful life.  Factors such as patient weight, activity level and the style of foot orthotic must be considered.  Generally, the more rigid the device the longer it will last.  A rigid plastic device may last 2-3 years although the top-cover material may not.  A soft device, such as one made for a diabetic patient, may last less than one year. 

Q: Do I have to follow a Break in Schedule for my new Orthotic?
A: Yes, your body needs time to adapt to the new device and the corrections they are imposing on your feet. You are breaking in your feet to the orthotics, not the orthotics to your feet. Not following the break in schedule or overuse may aggravate your current symptoms or cause new aches or pains.
Q: Why did my Doctor order this Brace?
A: Your Physician determines the medical necessity of the device they are prescribing. Our role is to fit you with the appropriate device based on your diagnosis and the doctor’s prescription. Your Physician will prescribe a device to treat your condition: for protection, immobilization, support, increase comfort and/or to promote healing.

Q: Do I need to see my Physician before I can get a brace/orthosis, repairs to my existing device or new/replacement supplies?
A: You must have a prescription from a physician in order to get an Orthosis, foot orthotics, or repairs to an existing device. Most physicians need to have seen you in the past 6 months before they will write a prescription.  We are able to work with you and your physician to request a prescription if you have seen them recently. 

Q: Can I return the brace if I no longer need it?
A: No. All of our devices are for made or fit to you as a one-time use. We encourage you to donate or your gently used devices to Physicians for Peace or other charitable organization. Or, you may dispose of it as you like.


Diabetic Shoes & Inserts /Medicare Therapeutic Shoes

Q: Can any Doctor order my Medicare Diabetic shoes & Inserts?
A: While any doctor write a prescription for diabetic shoes & inserts ONLY your Physician who is treating you for your Diabetes can complete the certificate of medical necessity for the therapeutic shoes and document the need in your medical records. The shoes and inserts must be prescribed by a podiatrist or other qualified doctor and provided by a Certified Podiatrist, Orthotist, or Pedorthist.

Q: How often can I get new Diabetic shoes and inserts?
A: Medicare will cover ONE of the following per calendar year based on your medical necessity:
One pair of depth-inlay shoes and three pairs of inserts OR
One pair of custom molded shoes (including inserts) and two additional pairs of inserts. This option is only available if you cannot wear depth-inlay shoes due to a foot deformity.

In certain cases, Medicare may also cover separate inserts or shoe modifications instead of inserts.
Medicare will not cover deluxe features: A deluxe feature is one that does not contribute to the shoe's therapeutic function - for example, a custom style, color or custom material.

Q: What is the process to get Diabetic Shoes and Inserts?

A: 1.Need to have one of the following condition along with Diabetes

    a. Previous amputation of the other foot, or part of either foot, or
    b. History of previous foot ulceration of either foot, or
    c. History of pre-ulcerative calluses of either foot, or
    d. Peripheral neuropathy with evidence of callus formation of either foot, or
    e. Foot deformity of either foot, or
    f. Poor circulation in either foot

2.You need to see one of the following doctors to get a prescription within the last 6 months:

    a. Endocrinologist
    b. Podiatrist
    c. Or a doctor that is treating both Diabetes and the patients’ feet

3. Prescription is done

4. Call for appointment 804-649-9043

5. One of Powell’s Orthotist will come to the site to do the initial evaluation

6. Once we have all documentation we will schedule delivery appointment at Powell facility

Process for Diabetic Shoes (PDF)

facebook twitter linkedin.png blog you tube