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9

Maintaining mobility

The importance of self-care

 

General introduction on the importance of very few but important aspects of being an amputee, as neglecting to do so may have very bad consequences.

Skin-problems: Inspection of the residual limb

Skin problems can make using the prosthesis uncomfortable or even impossible. Regular inspection of your residual limb will help identify skin problems early, before they become too severe. Use a mirror to check your residual limb from every angle. In the beginning, check your residual limb whenever you change your dressing or take off your prosthesis. Later on, one daily inspection after washing your residual limb should be sufficient. If you find a skin irritation, contact your prosthetist or doctor as soon as possible – even the smallest skin lesion might be important. Be on the lookout for increased sensitivity of the soft tissue below the skin that feels like bruised tissue.

Inspection of the socket

Rheo Knee 3 liner

The socket is the most important part of the prosthesis – it attaches the prosthetic leg to your residual limb – so it’s very important to take proper care of it.

Clean your socket daily

Depending on what material it’s made of, a cleaning solution will be recommended or prescribed by your prosthetist. To clean your prosthetic socket, wipe the inside of the socket with a damp cloth. The cloth should only be mildly damp with the prescribed cleaning solution, and so that excess water does not permeate the prosthetic components. After this has dried, apply rubbing alcohol to a paper towel and wipe the inside of the socket thoroughly.

This is an effective way to disinfect your socket and best done before bedtime, so that the prosthesis can fully dry overnight. Make sure that the alcohol has fully evaporated prior to wearing your prosthesis.

Your residual limb must fit snugly, but comfortably, in the socket. If the socket becomes loose, or if there are pressure areas, your skin can be damaged and your walking dynamics and overall mobility will be affected. Discuss this with your prosthetist before it becomes a problem.