Daily Prosthetic Leg Maintenance, Comfort, and Care
Prostheses undergo a lot of stress from daily use - this is a fact of life that people with disability live with every day. Maintaining one's prosthesis is an important part of living with disability, which is why it's crucial to have a habit of cleaning the prosthesis for one's own comfort, personal care, and prosthetic maintenance.
With that in mind, caring for one's prosthesis, such as a prosthetic leg, can be a confusing endeavour at first. This article aims to provide a quick guide on basic care and maintenance for prosthetic care. These steps for prosthetic care can be done from the comfort of one's own home with little to no assistance needed, and only require basic tools.
Let's get into it.
The first step is carefully removing one's prosthetic. This may seem obvious, but wearing one's prosthesis constantly can give rise to muscle aches and dull pains around the stump area - it can be tempting to quickly remove the prosthesis and let it fall where it may. However, doing so can damage the prosthesis, either from the impact of falling and hitting objects on its way down, or from tension stress resulting from the careless removal of the prosthesis.
Do note that if the prosthesis is causing sharp or intense pain, ask for assistance in removing it for temporary relief, and contact your physician and prosthesis outfitter for pain relief and possible prosthesis adjustments, respectively.
The second step is to wipe the prosthesis down with a clean cloth to remove any dirt adhering to the prosthesis. Depending on the material the prosthesis is made of, a damp cloth may also work for a quick clean-down. Air-dry your prosthesis when using a damp cloth to clean it - don't use a blow-dryer, as it might warp the surface of the prosthesis.
Pay special attention to cleaning the socket of the prosthesis, as well. Check the inside of the socket to see if there are any bits or pieces of dirt caught in it, and clean it out with a soft cloth. Spray down the socket with an alcohol-based cleaner and wipe to dry. Cleaning out the socket should be done at least once a week, ideally.
The third step is to wash the prosthesis socks and gel liners. This step must be done as often as one can manage, as these parts of prosthetic wear are in close contact with skin, which means they absorb sweat, in turn, making them susceptible to bacterial growth that can cause skin allergies and infections. When washing, use antibacterial soap and water. Gel liners and socks may come with instructions for cleaning; simply follow these instructions for best results.
Finally, if the prosthesis is damaged, do not hesitate to contact a professional for assistance. Also, replace the socks and gel liners if they have deteriorated to an unusable state.
These steps may seem really simple and basic, but they can extend the lifespan of your prosthesis and its accessories. Cleanliness and mindfulness go a long way in keeping things from deteriorating, not to mention ensuring the best comfort and care for both the wearer and the prosthesis.