It is extremely important for the amputee to practice correct stump hygiene. Minor problems need to be dealt with before they become serious and prevent the amputee from wearing their prosthesis.
Stump Care – Causes
All amputees are at risk due to the close-fitting nature of the prosthetic socket where air is unable to circulate and perspiration is trapped. New amputees should expect some redness, oedema and skin pigmentation when starting to wear a prosthesis whilst the skin adapts to the pressures and weight-bearing.
Swelling of the stump can be controlled and prevented by the use of compression bandages. See coning for the application technique.
Abrasions & Rashes
Often due to forces placed on the skin by the socket and the most common of the disorders. Perspiration and friction in the socket can cause skin breakdown and abrasions.
Usually caused by a reaction to a substance either in the prosthesis (resin, liner, etc) or to a substance being used on the stump (cream, lubricant, etc). By removing the cause, the problem is usually resolved.
There is a higher risk during summer due to increased perspiation and moisture within the socket. Socket & stump hygiene are extremely important at this time.
This is a bacterial infection which could develop into boils if not treated. To prevent this disorder do not shave the stump.
Can occur on the area of stump within the prosthetic socket due to the warm, moist environment. Anti fungal powders and creams can be used. Keep stump dry and change socks regularly.
This is normally a disorder that appears in amputees who have been wearing a prosthesis for several months or years as the cysts develop following continued rubbing and friction. They should be medically treated to avoid infection and further problems.
These may occur on areas of continued friction/chafing between the stump and socket. Most commonly due to the socket being either too tight or loose. Avoid excessive weight loss or gain and wear additional stump socks to improve fit if the socket is too loose. Permanent weight gain will require a new socket to be manufactured. Diabetic amputees need to be even more vigilant with regards to stump care. They are more susceptible to skin disorders as circulation is impaired and skin is easily injured.