It is best to wash the stump daily with a mild soap. Make sure you work up a good lather and clean any skin creases thoroughly. If you prefer to shower or bathe in the morning you will still need to wash and dry the stump thoroughly after you have removed your prosthetic limb in the evening. After washing, the stump must be dried thoroughly and moisturised. Also:
- Do not let your stump soak in a hot bath as it may swell.
- Do not shave the stump as the stubble will cause friction and may become infected.
- Always test products on a small patch of your stump before you use them for the first time.
To moisturise, use a Vitamin E cream or another suitable mild lotion. Moisturiser is best applied before going to bed rather than in the morning, prior to putting the prosthetic limb on. If your stump skin is dry do not use astringents such as isopropyl alcohol (brand name Isocol®), toners or witchhazel. These products are designed for oily skin and have a drying effect.
There are many soap and fragrance free products available from supermarkets and pharmacies; suitable, inexpensive brands include Alpha Keri®, Ego QV®, Aveeno®, Cetaphil® and Dermaveen®. If your skin is very dry creams with urea such as Uraderm® and Nutraplus® are available.
As a guide:
- Put your chosen antiperspirant on the stump and let it dry.
- Put on a clean stump sock/liner before donning your prosthetic limb.
- Wash the stump with gentle soap.
- Rinse well with warm water.
- Dry the stump with a soft towel. Make sure there are no damp spots.
- Moisturise the stump, put on a stump sock when the moisturiser has dried.
Stump Skin Issues
Amputees are prone to skin problems as the skin on the stump was not designed to bare weight or experience friction and the use of a prosthetic limb creates a warm, moist environment that bacteria prefer.
Inspect your stump daily and if you notice any problems such as cysts, rash, bumps, white flakes or brown patches on your stump contact your doctor. If you cannot see your whole stump use a small mirror.
Once you begin to use a prosthetic limb you may develop skin issues from prosthetic use. You will find the symptoms subside after you remove the prosthesis. If this happens see your prosthetist as you may need a socket adjustment or replacement supplies.
Some skin products may affect prosthetic liners so discuss your choices with your prosthetist if you use a gel or silicon liner.