How to Properly Care for and Clean your Prosthetic Limb
The proper routine cleansing of a prosthetic limb is vital to the patient. As the prosthetic is considered to be an extension of your body, it should be treated as such when it comes to its care and hygiene. This article will discuss some of the reasons this is important and some ways in which you can ensure you are properly caring for your custom-designed prosthesis.
When speaking of caring for and cleaning a prosthetic, this refers to all the elements this involves, namely the residual limb, the liner, the socket and the prosthetic limb itself. If you skip washing any of these elements you will only have done half the job and this can lead to complications or discomfort.
Due to the fact that many amputees have a numbness or loss of feeling often located directly on and/or around their residual limb you may not realize the consequences of letting your prosthetic hygiene routine slip before it is too late.
The main concern is always inflammation and infection due to skin breaks, cracking, ulcers, or dryness, which can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. The most immediate effect this will have on a patient is the fact that the discomfort will reach levels so high they will not be able to wear their prosthetic at all until the problem is fully healed. Prevention is always better than a cure, so be sure to avoid the above by sticking to a strict hygiene ritual when it comes to your prosthetic limb.
As you prepare to clean your prosthetic when you remove your socket liner and/or sleeve you should inspect your residual limb for signs of any abnormalities. Should there be signs of any anomalies contact your doctor immediately.
It is important to remember not everything can be fixed by a quick clean, any issues concerning the way prosthetics moves or fits warrants a visit to your prosthetist. Your prosthetist will also tell you how important hygiene is especially when fitting a new prosthesis to avoid infection.
It is strongly advised that you make use of two or more gel/socket liners so that should anything unexpected happen like excessive sweating it can be quickly swopped out for a clean, fresh one.
To clean your socket liner simply remove it, spot clean your prosthesis, turn the liner inside out and wash with anti-bacterial soap and warm water. Be sure to rinse any residual product and allow to dry sufficiently.
Never use alcohol-based cleaning products on your liner this can lead to skin rashes and irritations.
Prosthesis socks or liners should be changed daily as you would any other pair of socks. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions specified on each product to ensure you do not damage the liner or prosthetic.
This step is often overlooked because people tend to think that, since the socket is not making direct contact with the skin, it should be clean. This is not necessarily true, in the name of preserving the effectiveness and longevity of your prosthetic as well as your health the socket and prosthesis should be cleaned daily, like your socket liners and the residual limb.
Alcohol-based cleaner can be used on the prosthesis socket to kill all germs that are simply wiped away, it’s as easy as that.
If you require prosthetic or orthotic advice when it comes to cleaning, fitting, or even having a custom prosthesis made, contact Deist & Associates. With professional and sympathetic guidance you will soon join the many happy faces among Jaco Deist’s Success Stories.