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Manage Sweat in Your Prosthesis

How Can I Manage Sweat in my Prosthesis?

One of the great benefits of Florida life is that you can be outside and active year round.  However, this could lead to sweat build up in your prosthesis.  Especially if you have an active lifestyle. Not only are you uncomfortable, but you also run the risk of skin breakdown.  In this article, we will discuss the dangers of excess sweating and various options that will help you control this problem.

Dangers of Skin Breakdown

Your skin is your body’s first line of defense against disease.  The first sign of trouble is inflammation and/or a rash that can be quite uncomfortable.  This environment is ideal for microbes to multiply and result in a number of health problems.

The longer that excess moisture stays on your skin, the greater the chance for problems to develop.  Once your sheath is soaked with sweat, friction occurs between the sheath and your damp skin, causing blisters to develop.  These blisters can become infected and painful, and if left untreated, they can lead to a life-threatening systemic blood infection.

Another complication that can occur is when sweat has built up inside the gel liner.  It causes the liner to slip off of the skin.  When this happens, your suspension is affected, which causes your prosthesis to fit differently.  This increases movement of your limb, which can also lead to skin breakdown and the problems outlined above.

What You Can Do About It

Preparation is key.  Anticipating your needs ahead of time and bringing the necessary items with you that you will need to keep sweat at a minimum can help you avoid the dangers that excessive sweat inside your prosthesis can cause.  Here is a checklist you should follow whenever you have activities planned that could cause you to sweat.

  • Bring a washcloth and an extra sheath or pair of cotton socks and take stop periodically to remove your prosthesis and wash off the sweat.  Replace the wet sheath or sock with one of the dry ones you have brought with you before reapplying your prosthesis to continue.
  • Make sure your gel liner fits well and is in good shape.  If your liner is loose, replace it before you embark on any activities.  A loose-fitting liner allows the sweat to pool more.
  • The night before a planned outing, apply an antiperspirant to the skin of your limb.  Be sure to do this at night when your prosthesis is off, because the chemicals in it can cause deterioration of some gel liners.  Antiperspirants that are prescription strength are recommended and can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription.  They are powerful and can dry out your skin, so be sure to use it no more than every other day until you see how well you tolerate it.
  • For below-the-knee amputations, you can wear an absorbent headband above the gel liner or suspension sleeve to absorb any sweat that trickles down towards the liner.
  • Try wearing some of the newer wicking socks.  These go under your liner and are supposed to absorb more sweat.  There is also a new material available called the SmartTemp Liner, which contains a NASA-developed material for astronauts.  This new product has been shown to lower skin temperatures, so there is less sweat production.

Follow these tips and enjoy the outdoors year round.  Be sure to consult your prosthetist for recommendations specific to you and your needs.

new-prosthesis

New Prosthesis?

9 Tips to Maximize the benefits of your new prosthesis

If you are a recent amputee there are some things you can do on a regular basis to improve and enhance the use of your prosthesis. If you are looking to maximize the use of your prosthesis and achieve success in your daily life following amputation, these 9 tips can help:

Be a good patient

Follow your prosthetist’s orders and examine your residual limb on a daily basis for any issues that would need to be an addressed. Also, keep the insides of your liners clean and when necessary wear prosthetic socks to enhance the fit. You also may want to consider wearing a shrinker overnight to help mold your residual limb and reduce swelling.

Avoid procrastination

If you are experiencing any issues with comfort or fit or even skin issues don’t wait to schedule an appointment. Call as soon as you see or feel an issue. A small issue can become a larger one if you wait too long.

Create goals for yourself

At first, make small goals for yourself involving daily physical activity and increase those steps gradually. Always challenge yourself to do a little more each day.

Wear your prosthesis every day

The more you wear your new prosthesis you will get more accustomed to wearing it regularly. If it has a comfortable fit you could wear it all day long until bedtime getting your body used to it quicker.

Trial and error

When you are a new amputee you will have to do a bit of experimental work as your residual limb changes. You will need to focus on the way it feels in the socket and become knowledgeable about how you can change it for the better. Possibilities include taking away or adding the partial or full-length prosthetic socks or even removing and re-donning a slipped liner.

Don’t forget to exercise

You will need to build up strength in the remaining muscles so that you can stand and walk with a balanced and efficient gait. This takes a bit of time and effort on your part. We recommend every new amputee work with a physical therapist to help with the learning process.

Keep an eye on your weight

After your amputation, you will likely be a bit less active during the initial recovery period. You need to watch your weight during this time and understand that socket fit can change depending on your weight. Try to maintain a healthy diet even though you are not quite as active. Your activity level will build back up again once you are accustomed to the prosthesis.

Seek comradeship

Amputees all have something in common. Going through daily life as a new amputee can be challenging at times and everybody deals with it a bit differently. A great way to help with the adjustment is to seek out a support group. Meeting and talking with other amputees is a great way to feel supported as well and to discuss issues that you may have been having with others in the same situation.

Take a look positive ahead

As a new amputee, you may be feeling disheartened and frustrated. You need to focus on the future and keep your goals in mind. With positive thinking and a lot of effort on your part, you can live your best life with a prosthesis. Even though every day may not be what you expect over time you will become an experienced prosthesis user.

The experts at OP Centers are here to help and support you throughout your journey as you get accustomed to your prosthesis. We will assist you in living your life to the fullest potential.

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Athletes with Prosthetics

An athletic lifestyle as an amputee is no different

Were you once an avid athlete prior to an amputation? Losing a limb is difficult for every amputee but can be especially frustrating for those who previously played sports. Being unable to compete in sporting activities can seem discouraging. However, just because you have a prosthesis does not mean that you have to stop participating. With the proper sport prosthesis designed for the specific activity you want to do you can get right back in the game. There are a variety of sport specific prosthetics that can help every amputee continue participating in athletic activities. There are many famous athletes with prosthetics. Read on to find out which prosthesis is right for you.

How do I choose the best prosthesis for my sport?

Every amputee is different. Whether it’s a leg, arm or hand, the first step to finding the best prosthesis for your sporting needs is to meet with an experienced prosthetist. This expert will help design a custom prosthesis for you as well as help you with the best choice for the sport you want to be involved in. There are limbs available for a large variety of activities such as swimming, basketball, cycling, running, fishing, skiing and many more.  Just about every activity, whether it be indoors, outdoors, high impact or low can be accomplished with the proper prosthesis.  With all of these options you will be able to continue your favorite sport.

What are bionic sports prosthetics?

If you are highly competitive and serious about your athletic activity, you may want to consider a bionic prosthetic. With highly advanced materials and responsiveness bionic prosthetics are a few notches above a non-bionic alternative. Bionic sports prosthetics are custom made to comply with sport specific regulations.  They are for the highly competitive athlete.   Bionic prosthetics function similar to the way your own bones and muscles respond to the activity you are performing.   Their focus is to imitate the limbs natural behavior allowing for maximum performance during athletic activities. Bionic prosthetics are not meant for everyone and it is best to discuss your options with an experienced prosthetist. Advancing technology provides athletes with prosthetics many options.

If you have been feeling left out of the game since your amputation you don’t have to sit on the sidelines another minute. Talk to your prosthetist at OP Centers. We can create a custom prosthesis that you can use to continue your favorite athletic activity.

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Creating a Custom Prosthesis

Steps to Creating a Custom Prosthesis

Every patient’s amputation situation is unique. All prosthetic limbs are custom fitted to meet each patient’s specific needs and lifestyle. There are many important steps from beginning to end that will ensure a comfortable fit.

The first step to a successful experience is a consultation. At the consultation many questions are asked. Your lifestyle, activity level, personal interests, employment, leisure activities, are all very important in determining which type of prosthesis will best suit your needs. It is also imperative that the prosthetist work with the physician who is performing the surgery. This way the prosthetist can get all of the details of the operation, so he or she can better design a prosthesis that meets your individual needs.

Once you have determined, along with your physician and prosthetist, the style of prosthesis you need, measurements will be taken to capture the shape of your limb. If possible, a prosthetist will take measurements of your limb pre-surgery. This can be a tremendous help as it allows the specialist to expertly size the prosthesis. Once surgery is complete you will most likely be fitted with a post-op prosthesis that helps reduce swelling, reduces pain and assists you in your adjustment period. This is only a temporary prosthesis until you are fully healed. Once the swelling has gone down and you are fully healed, the prosthetist can start creating the prosthesis.

Computer aided design (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM) are often used to enhance the fit, function and efficiency of each patient’s prosthesis. This technology is imperative in getting the right fit and comfort for the patient. Once your new prosthesis is created specifically for your needs you can begin the process of learning how to utilize it to its fullest potential.

After the amputation and prosthetic device fitting, you must then go through physical therapy. It can be very tough for an individual to learn how to walk using a prosthetic leg or brush your teeth with a prosthetic hand. Physical therapy is vital on your journey as a new amputee. You need to focus on how to use your new prosthesis for life’s activities. During physical therapy, you and your prosthesis will be closely monitored and any necessary adjustments will be made.

Throughout this time, your prosthetist will pay close attention to the interface between your residual limb and the prosthesis. Due to the fact that the swelling is finally diminishing, your residual limb will likely shrink in the months following surgery.

The new prosthesis may have to go through some altering in order to match the reduction in size that occurs. You will go through a major life changing adjustment period and your prosthetist, nurses, physical therapists, peer counselors, friends and family are all there to support you. You will continue visiting the prosthetist throughout your life. As time goes by your prosthetic providers will continue bringing you the latest technological advances in prosthetic design.

There are many factors involved in creating a custom prosthesis. You can be assured that your prosthetist is expertly qualified to bring you the best prosthesis for your lifestyle and will be by your side to make sure you have the best fit and function available throughout your life.