Skincare and Hygiene

The skin around your stump will always be fragile and it needs to be looked after. Prevention is better that cure; report any changes to your skin to your doctor or prosthetist immediately.

During the first year following your amputation, you will notice a number of changes. Your stump may continue to reduce in size and change in shape as your body adjusts to wearing a prosthesis. You may find that you need to visit your prosthetist more frequently during this time. During the second and third year, your body and stump will start to stabilise and the need for adjustments (changes) to your prosthesis will become less frequent.

Any red marks or changes to your skin should be attended to if they do not fade after 15 minutes from the time you remove your prostheses.

There are a number of things that you should think about:

Skin hygiene is very important; you should wash, clean and dry your residual limb (stump) daily, when bathing or having a shower as part of your regular personal hygiene routine.

Stump socks and prosthetic liners should be cleaned and changed daily with a gentle fragrant-free anti-bacterial soap, and rinsed well. More often if you sweat heavily during warmer months.  Always dry your socks and liners properly.

Stop wearing your prosthesis if you have any pain or discomfort.

Wear safe and comfortable shoes. 

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Caring for your Residual Limb 

Taking care of your residual limb (stump) is extremely important.  You need to get into a regular routine and check your limb on a daily basis, including when you experience any pain or changes in the way it fits

  • Use a hand mirror to check the back of your stump for changes before you put your prosthesis on.
  • Check your stump for markings or changes when you take your prosthesis off. 
  • Check for skin breaks, ulcers, dryness or cracking.  Any noticeable signs of change should be immediately seen to by your doctor.
 Remember: A prosthesis should not cause you pain. 
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Increased Body Temperature

Amputees often report an increase in their body temperature. This can be caused by a number of reasons;

  • Less body surface area – making it more difficult to reduce the body’s temperature. The skin is our largest breathing organ and any amputation results in less skin surface area
  • A greater level of energy expenditure. Using a prosthesis (especially lower limb) requires more energy – the more energy you use the warmer the body gets. This can lead to a loss of heat tolerance and greater amounts of perspiration/sweat

If you are affected by increased body temperatures make sure you drink plenty of water to replace what you have lost, by sweating. Try to limit the amount of caffeine and soft drinks, and wear light breathable clothing.

You may find that during warmer months you will need to change your stump socks more frequently. You may also need to take off your liner and dry it (if you sweat a lot) and re-donn or swap it with a clean, dry liner.  

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Hair Removal

Amputees regularly ask about shaving, waxing or having laser-therapy on their stump. Your healthcare team will discourage you from doing this. If you do decide to wax or shave your stump and the hair follicle becomes infected, you may be unable to wear your prosthesis until the infection clears.  Seek advice and a second opinion if you are worried or concerned.