Ouch! Between your skin and your prosthesis there is no room for air circulation. This traps sweat and dirt that can lead to bacterial and/or fungal infections. Without proper skin care practices, even a well-fitting prosthesis can wreck havoc on your residual limb. Anything from red irritation, to infection or even ulcers can lead to the inability to enjoy your limb or worse. Keep these tips in mind to keep minor irritations from turning into significant complications.
Tip #1: Wash your limb daily
It’s best to wash your limb with mild soap and water and pat it dry, taking special care to insure you do not leave wet areas that can lead to fungal growth.
Do not shave your limb as a tight-fitting socket can lead to in-grown hairs.
Do not use powders or creams unless recommended by your prosthetist or doctor. The only cream we recommend is called Healthy Limb. It is comprised of organic ingredients and botanical extracts. You can find out more information and order through www.healthylimb.com.
We suggest new amputees shower at night as the hot water can lead to swelling. Discuss with your prosthetist if and how long you should consider wearing a shrinker during the night.
While sleeping, never use a pillow between your knees or rest your limb on a pillow. This will likely result in contractures (the inability to straighten your muscles).
Tip #2: Regularly Check for Redness/Pressure Marks
It is a good idea to examine your limb a few times throughout the day. Take a careful look at your limb in the morning to get a baseline of how the natural coloring should appear. Then once throughout the day and again at night before bed, remove your prosthesis and check your limb again. You are looking for redness that does not go away after about 4-5 minutes of removing your prosthesis.
If you notice any issues, do not try to pad the area or make adjustments on your own. This will lead to unintended additional pressure points in other areas. Simply contact your prosthetist for an adjustment.
If you notice an area of skin breakdown – you must take steps to allow that area to heal properly before wearing your prosthesis again. If you try to bandage the area and continue wearing your prosthesis you could end up with an ulcer or infection.
Tip #3: Wash Everything!
If it touches your skin, it needs to be washed regularly with soap and water. This includes liners, socks, even the inside of the socket. Be sure everything DRIES COMPLETELY before reusing any of these items.
Tip #4: Be Prepared for Anything
It’s a good idea to assemble a take-along emergency kit. Items to include would be additional socks to account for any changes in your fit throughout the day, bandages, antibiotic ointment and SUNCREEN! Remember, your residual limb is almost always covered from the elements, so if you find yourself in a situation where it becomes exposed for any length of time, that skin will likely burn easily.
Tip #5: Remember, We’re Here For You
At EastPoint Prosthetics and Orthotics, we genuinely want your prosthesis to fit well and for you to enjoy your mobility. If you feel that your socket needs alignment or something needs to be adjusted, just give us a call. We’re here for you!