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Care of Your Residual Limb

All people with amputations need to take special care of their residual limb and remaining leg but it is especially important if you have diabetes.

  • It is important to keep your residual limb clean. Perspiration may build up causing little spots or rashes, which can get uncomfortable. You should wash your residual limb as often as required but at least daily. Dry your residual limb well after washing, especially before putting on your artificial limb (prosthesis).
  • Every time you remove your artificial limb, carefully inspect your residual limb to check that there are no rubbed or sore areas. You may have reduced feeling in your residual limb and not realise when you have a sore area so it is worth getting into the routine of checking your residual limb regularly. If necessary, use a mirror to check the areas you cannot easily see. If you have any difficulty, ask someone to help you check.
  • If you do discover a sore area, clean it carefully and apply a simple dry dressing and telephone the clinic to speak to the nurse for advice. Try to avoid wearing your artificial limb during this time as it may make the sore worse. It may be necessary to telephone the clinic receptionist to make an appointment with your prosthetist.
  • If you find that the skin on the stump is very dry, apply a cream or lotion, such as Vaseline™ or E45™, at night.
  • Stroking and handling your residual limb regularly will help your circulation and help you to identify any sore areas or changes.
  • You should wear clean residual limb socks every day and make sure that there are no wrinkles or creases in the socks. Never mend or darn them as these seams can damage your residual limb.
  • Sweating is common and is normal. However, if this is causing a problem, talk to the nurse or your prosthetist. They will be able to recommend suitable antiperspirants and how to use them on your residual limb.