Ready to Get Outside? How to Care for Your Prosthesis This Summer

Posted on: 29 July 2020

If you're like most people, you've been stuck in the house for a few months. You're probably ready to get out and enjoy some of the warm summer temperatures. If this is your first summer with a prosthesis, you'll need to take some extra care and precautions before you head out. These steps are especially important if you haven't been wearing your prosthesis as often while the stay-at-home orders were in effect. Here are some tips that will help you avoid problems with your prosthetic this summer. 

Check for Changes in Size and Fit

If you haven't been as active as you are usually during the shut-down, you may have experienced some weight loss. Because of that, your prosthesis might not fit as well as it did before the stay-at-home orders took effect. Unfortunately, if your prosthesis doesn't fit right, you may experience some pain and injury when you try to wear it again, especially during physical activities. To reduce the risk, have your prosthesis resized and adjusted before you start getting active again. 

Take Care to Avoid Swelling

If this is your first summer with a prosthesis, you might not be prepared for the swelling, which can be a real problem during the summer. The heat, combined with humidity, can cause your residual limb to swell. When that happens, your prosthesis might not fit the way it should, especially first thing in the morning. One way to avoid problems with swelling is to start each day with a cool shower. Another way is to ask your prosthetist about a custom shrinker. Sleeping with a shrinker on your residual limb will help prevent heat-related swelling.  

Protect Against Skin Damage

If you haven't been wearing your prosthesis as often during the shut-down, you'll need to take extra precautions to protect your skin. First, be sure to keep the skin on your residual limb clean and dry. Chaffing can cause serious problems during the summer. Second, be sure to inspect your prosthesis for sand and dirt whenever you take it off while you're outside. Finally, watch your skin for signs of breakdown or irritation during the summer. If you notice skin problems, especially around the prosthetic limb, talk to your doctor and prosthetist. 

Watch the Water

If you're heading to the water this summer, take care of your prosthesis, especially if it's not waterproof. Exposure to water can cause rust and corrosion. If you're going to be near the water, place a waterproof cover on your prosthesis. If you enjoy water sports, and a cover gets in the way of your fun, talk to your prosthetist about a waterproof prosthesis. The waterproof prosthesis will allow you to participate in your favorite water sports, including wakeboarding and waterskiing.

If you have further questions about prosthetics, talk to your doctor today.