Premier Prosthetics & Orthotics Blog 

Top Five Most Important Residual Limb Care Tips

March 10, 2021
If you are working with Premier Prosthetics and Orthotics, then you’ve found the perfect prosthetic for you. To get full use from your prosthetic, it’s essential that you continue to perform proper limb and skin care on a routine basis. Staying on top of your residual limb care is an important part of fully using your device. Your prosthetic socket can trap sweat and prevent the air from circulating around your residual limb, which can lead to an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria—this can cause you to contract bacterial or fungal infections, if you’re not on top of your residual limb’s care.

Without proper maintenance, bacterial or fungal infections can cause skin irritation, skin abrasions, and eventually, skin breakdown, leaving you much more vulnerable to skin infections and ulcerations. If this occurs, you may be forced to go without your prosthesis for an extended period of time in order to allow your wounds to properly heal. Making caring for your residual limb a priority will help you to avoid any unwanted crisis down the line.
Make sure to read on to learn more about our top five tips for caring for your residual limb.
1. Check for Skin Breakdown Twice a Day
The best way to stay on top of the health of your residual limb is to check it twice a day for any signs of skin breakdown—this can include unusual changes in your skin’s color or texture, swelling, tender areas or areas that feel cooler or warmer to the touch, and pus-like draining. If you can’t see your limb easily, use a mirror to assist you.
Also, be sure to continue to check for red pressure patches that last for more than a few minutes after removing your prosthesis. If they persist, they could cause skin breakdown, so consult your prosthetist as your socket may need to be checked.

2. Shower at Night
This is an especially important tip for new amputees, because your limb will swell due to the hot bath or shower water and make it difficult to put on your prosthesis. It’s better to expose your limb to hot water in the evening, or whenever you plan to relax without your prosthesis. This tip will become less important as times goes on, but if you’re experiencing swelling that makes getting on your prosthesis more difficult in the mornings, be sure to skip the shower.

3. Always Wear Sunscreen
If you enjoy basking in the sun, don’t forget the SPF! Your residual limb is always covered, which means it’s extra sensitive to those harmful UV rays. Always bring sunscreen to protect your residual limb from sunburn, because you cannot wear your prosthesis while your residual limb is recovering from a burn.
4. Wash and Dry Your Limb Daily
Your limb needs to be washed with a mild soap and water every day—if you sweat a lot, even more often—and pat-dried with a soft towel. Ensure that your limb is completely dried before putting on your prosthesis, as leaving the area moist could result in fugal or bacterial growth.

5. Pack an Emergency Bag, and Keep it Close
Keep a bag with essential prosthesis care items that’s kept somewhere easily accessible to you in case of emergency. This includes extra stump socks, pull socks or bandages, antihistamine and antibiotic ointment, antibacterial wipes, and anything else you might need in case an emergency occurs with your prosthetic device while you’re out and about.

Premier Prosthetics isn’t just your go-to prosthetics practice—once you walk through our doors, you’ve joined our family. Our passion is directly impacting our patients' quality of life, and it's our top priority to provide the highest level of convenience and care to each and every one of our valued patients. Call our office at 314-262-8900 or visit us today to find out more about how we can best help you live your life, without limitations.

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