Leg amputees need to take special care to maintain a consistent stump volume to ensure their prosthetic leg fits well and doesn’t hurt or rub their residual limb.
Sometimes in my gym, I will be ready to treat an amputee and they will arrive unable to don their prosthetic leg, which is a frustrating outcome for everyone.
An increase in stump volume can be caused by many things and some common ones include:
- Leaving your stump unbandaged overnight. In the initial 12-18 months after leg amputation, an elastic bandage or shrinker sock must be worn overnight or whenever the prosthetic leg is not being worn to prevent swelling of the stump. If you have heart or kidney problems you may need to keep bandaging always, to prevent your stump swelling overnight.
- Sitting for long periods with your residual limb hanging down (for below knee amputees) may cause swelling because there is no muscle pump and your lymphatic drainage system has been disrupted by your amputation.
- Meals high in salt and/or alcohol content can cause your stump to swell, especially if combined with the above factors.
- Some ladies experience stump swelling at certain times throughout their menstrual cycle and may need to bandage at those times to ensure continuity of fit of their prosthesic leg.
- Prolonged periods of inactivity or bed rest (for example a hospital admission) may cause an increase in stump volume because by not wearing your prosthestic leg fluid accumulates in your stump and is not pumped out by weight bearing. In cases like these, always have your bandage or shrinker sock at the ready to avoid fitting problems when you are ready to be back on both feet
I hope you have found this checklist for prosthetic leg fitting challenges useful.
Let me know what you think.
Until next time…. Cathy… The Amputee Coach
Leave a Reply