Tips for Taking Care Of Your Limbs

Tips for Taking Care Of Your Residual Limb

To stay healthy and keep your limbs working properly, it is important that you take good care of them. For instance, it is important that there is adequate air circulation around your residual limb to prevent it from becoming a habitat for bacteria.  However, due to the sweat that prosthetic sockets sometimes trap, the air circulation can be inhibited, leading to fungal and bacterial infection. These infections could in turn cause skin irritation and abrasions. In extreme cases, this process may eventually result in skin breakdown. To avoid these scenarios, proper maintenance of the limbs should be a top priority. Here are a few tips for taking care of your limbs:

Tips for Taking Care Of Your LimbsAmputees should avoid leg hanging

Hanging your legs leads to swelling which complicates the process of putting on your prosthesis. Other activities that would make your limbs swell should also be avoided. These include bathing in hot water just before you put on the prosthesis. It is preferable that you bathe at night to give the limb enough time to shrink back to its normal size. You could also use a shrinker during sleep.

Clean your limb daily with soap and water

Every day, make sure you clean your limb using gentle soap and water. If you sweat heavily, consider washing the limb more than once a day. Every time you clean the limb, give it time to dry. This way, you will avoid fungal growth in the prosthetic socket which could later lead to abrasion or infection.

Exercise daily

Every day, make sure you undertake some stretching exercises. These will ensure that you are able to straighten your hip and knee. As a result, you will walk better. In fact, even lying in bed will become more comfortable.

Taking good care of your limbs is a significant part of staying comfortable while using your prosthesis. If you are in doubt when using them, call your prosthetist for advice. Advanced Prosthetics Research (APR) has qualified Prosthetists that can help you stay comfortable and make the most of your prosthesis. Call APR today and get help on how you can achieve more comfort.

Shower/Bath Solutions 

Everyone needs to keep clean and for amputees, keeping your residual limb clean is very important to avoid skin irritations and infections. Showering can be difficult for amputees since it usually means balancing on one leg on a slippery floor. To avoid falls in the bathroom, consider some of these tips:

  1. Shower chair: Get a shower bench/chair that you can place in your tub or shower. Make sure it is sturdy and doesn’t slip. Wear your prosthetic into the shower before turning the water on and sit down on the shower bench. Make sure you have your towel within reach of the shower chair. Remove your prosthetic and liner and place them within reach outside of the shower. Bathe normally and then dry off your residual limb before putting your liner and prosthetic back on. This avoids getting the prosthetic wet.
  2. Grab bars: Install grab bars in or near the shower/tub to assist you with getting in and out of the shower as well as for extra stability while in the shower. Make sure they are properly installed and test them before you try to use them without your prosthetic.
  3. Hand held shower heads: These can come in handy if you’re showering sitting down because they allow you to move the water around you instead of having to try and move yourself around the water. These can be purchased at hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot or online. 
  4. Rubber/non-slip bath mats: To help reduce the risk of slipping and falling in the bathroom, install rubber or non-slip bath mats in the tub/shower and on the bathroom floor. Water that drips on the floor can create an extra slippery surface on a tile floor so these mats will help reduce the risk of falling.
  5. Talk with your prosthetist: If you’re having trouble finding an easy solution to difficulties with bathing, don’t be afraid to mention it to your prosthetist and have them help you come up with a solution. There are products such as covers and waterproof legs that are available. *Remember; even if you are able to use your prosthetic in the shower, it is still important that you wash your residual limb regularly to avoid skin irritations.