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.

The skin around your stump will always be fragile and it needs to be looked after. Managing and looking after your skin care will help to prevent any problems in the future. You should report any changes to your skin to your doctor or prosthetist immediately. 

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Consider the following suggestions:

  • 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.

Most people experience changes in the size and shape of their stump from day to day, or over a long period. You are responsible for keeping an eye on how well your prosthesis fits each day, and adjusting your sock regime to suit. If changing socks does not help you will need to contact your prosthetist. Moisturise your stump daily to keep the skin supple and strong. Dry skin is more easily cracked and is less able to tolerate the pressures of a prosthesis. Moisturising at night allows the cream to be absorbed by the skin, not your stump sock. Ingrown hairs can pose a problem for some amputees. It is recommended that you do not shave or wax your residual limb.

If you have an urgent issue relating to your stump/residual limb organise a review with your GP or local emergency department immediately. If it is a persistent issue that could be related to your prosthesis a review with your amputee specialist would be beneficial. 

Remember to have an annual review or prosthetic maintenance check every 12 months.