The residual limb endures a lot of abuse every day, especially when a prosthesis is worn. The skin is covered with a snug material which restricts the pores ability to breath. Pistoning and rubbing within the socket can cause further irritation. In order to maintain a healthy limb, it is recommended that the amputee take basic steps every day.
The liner should be thoroughly washed daily using a non-abrasive gentle soap. Avoid using harsh detergents as they may embed within the material and cause irritation to the skin. Rinse the liner well and, if possible, allow it to dry thoroughly before donning.
The skin on the residual limb should also be cleaned daily. In order to prevent ingrown and infected hairs, it is the consensus that the limb should not be shaved. Removing the liner for several hours a day, typically at night when sleeping, allows the skin to breath and rest.
Many amputees suffer from dry or cracked skin on their residual limb, especially during the winter months. Applying a lotion or cream can help to moisturize. Over moisturizing the skin before putting on the liner and prosthesis should be avoided. Heavily moisturized skin often becomes too slick to hold the devices.
Simple preventative measures can go a long way to ensure the health of the residual limb. If you have further questions about how to care for your limb, liner or prosthesis, don't hesitate to ask!