One of the most frequent complaints heard from individuals wearing a prosthetic leg is that the artificial limb can cause chafing, rashes and even open sores. This common problem can dramatically impact your quality of life and leave you flinching every time you stand up, but it can also be corrected through a few simple methods. Depending on the cause of your skin irritation, one of these solutions may be all it takes to have you walking comfortably once more.
Customizing the Socket Shape
Most prosthetic limbs' sockets are carefully molded to their owner to ensure a secure but flexible fit. Limb thickness and the shape of the amputated stump both play an important role in how a prosthetic conforms to your body, and both can change over the course of months or years. A poor fit will quickly lead to slipping, chafing and difficulty walking. If you have gained or lost weight recently, you may need to have your prosthetic refitted to accommodate your new proportions and bring your limb back into alignment with the rest of you.
Replacing the Liner
Artificial legs come equipped with a liner that is meant to cushion your limb and shield it from the friction of the moving prosthetic. Over time, however, this liner will wear down, particularly if the socket does not fit properly. Before you put your prosthetic on in the morning, check the insider liner for signs of deterioration, including any rips or sunken sections that indicate a breakdown of the padding. You may also choose to have the liner thinned or thickened instead of refitting the entire limb.
Adjusting Your Posture
Sometimes, a prosthetic that is perfectly fitted to its owner can still cause trouble when it is subjected to uneven pressures throughout the day, or if it was manufactured while you stood in a different manner than usual. For this reason, it is important to wear shoes that are most similar to your regular footwear during the fitting process, whether they be boots, high heels or sneakers. Specialized orthopedics can also help you maintain your posture and balance, putting less pressure on your prosthetic and limb as a consequence.
Treating Underlying Conditions
If your limb was lost because of a medical condition like diabetes, you may still be suffering from nerve damage in the area. This lack of sensation can make it difficult for patients to notice irritation before it turns into an angry, infected sore. Follow treatment options outlined by your doctor to help maintain feeling in your limb, and inspect the stump at least once per day for signs of irritation. Prompt recognition of a developing skin problem can head off further complications and have you back on firm footing quickly, so don't hesitate to notify your doctor and prosthetic manufacturer if you notice anything that significantly interferes with your daily comfort and mobility.
To learn more about prosthetics contact a company like Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic.