Preparatory Prostheses Instructions, Care and Maintenance
- Your preparatory prosthesis was made especially for you from a cast impression of your residual limb.
- This prosthesis is designed to be worn while your residual limb continues to heal and mature in size and shape. During this time it is expected that adjustments will be required to maintain the fit and accommodate these changes.
- There are three distinct mechanisms in the maturing process:
- Post Surgical Edema (swelling): This is a result of the surgical process. It is normal and generally resolves in several weeks with the aid of compressive dressings like ace bandages and stump shrinker socks.
- Muscle Atrophy (thinning musculature): The muscles located in the residual limb generally operate the next joint down. Muscles in the thigh operate the knee and muscles in the leg operate the ankle. Because these muscles no longer function as they normally do, they become smaller from lack of use. This is normal and advantageous in that as the muscles shrink, the skeletal parts of the stump have better control of the prosthetic socket. The majority of these changes generally occur within the first few months after amputation.
- Long Term Effects of Socket Pressure: These changes occur over a long period of time and are the body’s natural response to long-term pressure. This effect is similar in nature to those from waist belts or bra straps. They may occur indefinitely. Remember, your body never stops changing.
Adjusting the Fit
Because the residual limb is changing its important to maintain your fit using additional socks. Knowing how many socks to wear and when is the key to success.
If you feel pressure at the bottom of your residual limb or in the calf, or it you feel increased motion in the socket, try adding a sock to relieve this. It’s common to have to add sock and often more than once in a day. The goal is to have the socket fit as snug a possible but still get fully into it.
- The prosthetic socket environment is warm, dark and humid. This is ideal for bacterial growth.
- It is imperative that the skin and textiles (socks) be clean and washed daily. Care instructions are included with packaging.
- The socket liner (insert) should also be washed regularly. Soap and water with a sponge or a soft cloth works well, water will not harm the liner. Soap, alcohol and detergents like Palmolive or Fantastic are fine for problem cleaning. Be sure to use plenty of water to rinse out the residue. Dry with a towel.
- The plastic socket should also be cleaned periodically.
- Be aware of any changes such as noises or looseness developing. If this occurs, contact the office as soon as possible.
For your custom prosthetic from a local prosthetic company that blends expertise with care, call Cornell Orthotics & Prosthetics.