When you are fitted for an artificial limb for the first time, it can be intimidating. You may not feel very comfortable about the newness of the prosthetic, but as you learn how to use it that feeling will fade. What may not fade is any rubbing, itching or sweating sensations. Although you may initially be fitted with a stump sock to reduce some friction, you do not have to stay with the product you were given if your prosthetic is causing the stump sock to be ineffective. Here are three ways to make your artificial limbs more comfortable.
Moisturizers and Stump Socks with Built-in Moisturizers
Prosthetics tend to produce a certain amount of expected friction, especially when the limb that is replaced is a leg. That friction dries out your skin and causes more irritation. You can reduce the amount of friction and irritation by using lots of moisturizer on the end of the amputated limb. The more moist the skin is here, the less friction you will feel. If you want a more convenient product for this step in your daily dressing, there are stump socks with built-in moisturizers in the fabrics.
Padded and Plush Prosthetic Cup Linings
Sometimes the prosthetic cup (the portion of the artificial limb that fits over the stump) is a little large or does not quite fit. Despite numerous fittings, your doctor may just pad the cup to make it fit more snugly and securely. You can request that the padding used be thick and/or plush in your cup lining (e.g., sherpa, lamb's wool/fake lamb's wool, high pile velvet, etc.). Any of these super-soft prosthetic cup liners will alleviate slight slippage and rubbing when you are wearing your prosthetic.
Prosthetic harnesses help keep your artificial limb on and keep it in place. If you have tried everything else and nothing seems to keep your faux limb from moving in directions you do not want it to move, you may be able to order a custom harness for your leg or arm. This will require very accurate measurements of your body in relation to the artificial limb and its use.
For example, if you want a custom harness for a prosthetic arm that starts at your shoulder, you will need to measure around your chest, below your chest (especially if you are female), around your waist, the natural length of your other arm, the width between your shoulders on both the front and back and around the base of your neck. Given these measurements, the company that makes your custom harness can design and manufacture a more comfortable product to keep your artificial limb in place and less bothersome.
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