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After surgery: Desensitisation of the residual limb

After amputation, the skin on your residual limb will be sensitive to the touch, and eventually, when the prosthesis is fitted and you are starting to walk, it will be subjected to forces it was never intended to cope with. To develop a tolerance for these forces you will need to desensitise your residual limb. Desensitisation techniques may also decrease what is known as phantom pain (the sensation of pain in the absent part of a limb).

  • Start with light and gentle touching and tapping, and then progress to light massaging. As your tolerance improves, slowly increase the pressure.
  • Rub the skin with different materials: start with a cotton wool ball, rubbing it in a circular motion. As you develop more tolerance, progress to rougher materials such as paper towels and various kinds of brushes.
  • Try to do this for 15 to 20 minutes, three times a day, until desensitisation is fully achieved.
  • NOTE: be especially cautious when massaging or rubbing the sutured area so as not to damage the skin