Patients that have been fitted with a prosthetic device may have questions regarding the care of the prosthesis, care of the prosthetic liner and care of the residual limb.
Prosthetic Orthotic Solutions International (POSI) recommends these tips to maintain a safe prosthetic device and healthy skin for long wear times.
Prosthetic Care for Devices & Liners
- Examine your prosthesis daily for loose parts, abnormal noises or damage.
- Wash liner daily with mild soap and warm water.
- Ensure your limb and socket are thoroughly dry before each use.
Residual Limb Care
Proper skin care practices are essential when wearing a prosthesis. The liner and prosthesis creates a closed environment for your skin. Special attention to your hygiene is required for healthy skin and successful prosthetic use.
Wash daily – Limb and prosthetic liner should be washed with mild, fragrance-free soap daily.
Change dressings daily – Change more often if they become saturated.
Check your skin often – It is important to observe changes in your limb, especially if you have decreased sensations. A mirror may be useful if you are unable to see limb.
If your prosthesis does not feel right, remove it and check your skin.
Hydrate dry skin – If skin needs to be moisturized, use moisturizer at night when not using prosthesis. Keeping your skin moisturized is vital as dry skin is more fragile. Breaks in your skin create a portal for bacteria to enter the body. Lotions used when wearing the prosthesis can cause the liner to slip.
Perspiration – Keep skin dry. Excessive time spent in a wet environment will damage skin. If you are wearing a liner or prosthesis and notice yourself sweating, remove the liner, dry it and your limb and re-don.
Excessive sweating – Excessive sweating can cause the liner to slip, causing compromised suspension. If liner slips off, creating airspace, it can cause water blisters.
Solutions for excessive sweating – If you feel you need help managing perspiration, there are antiperspirants available that can help. Two examples are Certain-Dry and Alps Antiperspirant. Talk to your prosthetist about solutions.
Redness, callouses, irritation, blisters and breakdown – Tell your health care providers at onset so they can help you remedy the issue or direct you to the appropriate care. Remember that little concerns when left unaddressed can turn into problems. See sections on Liner Care and Use and Prosthetic Care and Use for more detailed information.
General skin irritation and allergic reactions – The majority of general skin reactions experienced when wearing liners are a result of soaps, cleansers, manufacturing chemicals and lotions. See liner care for more information.