Artificial limbs can increase your independence, improve your self-esteem, allow you to participate in more activities, and become more mobile. While it may take some time before you become acclimated to your new prosthetic device, it will soon feel like a natural part of your body. Stump care is essential to maintain the integrity of your artificial limb and to help keep you more comfortable. Here are some stump care strategies to consider if you have an artificial limb.
Because your stump is encased in an artificial socket, it can get sweaty and itchy. The skin of your stump can breakdown and become infected as a result of bacterial buildup. It is essential that you clean your skin every day and sprinkle your stump with absorbent powder or baking soda.
This will also help prevent odors from developing while the stump is in its plastic encasement. Special socks can be worn over your stump to further absorb perspiration and to help prevent friction wounds that may occur from your stump rubbing against the plastic parts of the encasement.
Cleanse your stump using warm water and mild soap, and then rinse it thoroughly. After washing your stump, dry it thoroughly before putting your artificial limb back on. Also, avoid using moisturizing lotion on your stump because it may cause the stump to become too slippery inside the socket.
Monitor Your Stump
During a bath or shower, examine your stump for signs of redness, rashes, irritation, skin breakdown, or blisters. If you notice any abnormal skin changes, call your doctor as soon as possible. Seeking medical attention for abnormal skin changes of the stump is especially important if you have poor circulation or diabetes because stump wounds can quickly become infected or progress to large ulcers.
If you develop an infectious wound on your stump, your doctor may culture it to determine which microorganism is responsible for the infection. If the wound is caused by a strain of bacteria, both oral and topical antibiotics may be prescribed. If your wound is caused by a fungal microorganism, an antifungal ointment or oral medication will be recommended.
If you have an artificial limb, consider the above stump care interventions. When you keep your stump clean and monitor it for abnormal skin changes, you will be less likely to develop infections and friction wounds. It is also important that you see your prosthetist on a yearly basis to check the artificial limb to make sure that it is in good condition.