Prosthetic limbs have come a very long way in the thousands of years they’ve been used. Historically, they were pieces of wood carved to fit their owner, and secured with a rudimentary harness. As you can imagine, they were uncomfortable to wear, difficult to use, and easily damaged. Luckily today, your prosthetic limb isn’t clunky bit of wood. It is a carefully-crafted piece of technology designed to help you function efficiently and comfortably.
However, even now, adapting to a prosthetic limb takes a little bit of adjustment. Whether you are a brand-new prosthesis user, a supporting friend or family member, or someone adapting to a newer prosthesis, here is a quick look at the basics of caring for a new limb. With the help of your prosthetist and these six healthy habits, you’ll soon be confident and ready to go.
First and foremost, hygiene is key and can help you avoid the irritating pitfalls of a prosthetic limb, such as skin irritation and unpleasant odors. Make sure to carefully bathe yourself and use a moisturizing lotion if necessary.
Just as important- be sure to clean to your prosthesis daily, preferably each evening before bed. Always follow your prosthetist’s instructions for how to clean your specific prosthesis. However, most can be easily cleaned with a solution consisting of one part water and one part rubbing alcohol. Put the solution in a small spray bottle and spray your limb each night, or any time it is dirty, and then gently wipe it down with a clean cotton towel.
Learn to be mindful of chemical-based products. Do you use sunscreen or bug spray often? Consider removing your prosthetic limb before applying products like these, as they may cause damage, especially over time.
And keep in mind that even water can be harmful to your prosthetic limb. Just like you wouldn’t want to drop your phone in the sink, make a habit of avoiding contact with water unless your prosthetist informs you that your limb is water-safe.
Finally, it is always important to maintain a healthy diet. Not only is this beneficial for your overall health, but it will help you maintain a consistent weight, which in turn will reduce changes in the fit of your prosthesis.
Oh, and last, but never least- make a habit of reaching out for help if you need it. Your prosthetist is there to assist you every step of the way.
Fit-Well is a progressive provider of prosthetic limbs and orthotics. Located in Utah, Fit-Well helps prosthetic limbs users regain control and movement in their life.