A Manual for Below-Knee Amputees

Care of the Stump

The stump must be washed daily to avoid irritations and infection. Mild soap and warm water are recommended.

The interior of plastic sockets also must be kept clean by washing daily with warm water and a mild soap. Use of detergents should be avoided at all times. Some amputees have found a hair dryer to be useful in drying the stump and preparing the socket for donning.

Prosthetic socks must be applied carefully to avoid wrinkles, and should be replaced daily with newly laundered ones; more often in warm, humid weather. They should be washed in warm water with a mild soap. Manufacturers recommend that socks be rotated on at least a three- or four-day schedule to allow the fibers to retain their original position.

Reductions in the size of the stump can be accommodated by adding one or more prosthetic socks.

Prosthetic socks are woven especially for their intended use and are available in three thicknesses and a variety of sizes.

The thicknesses generally available are designated 3-ply, 5-ply, and 6-ply. With this combination, various thicknesses can be obtained as follows:

One 3-ply = 3 plies
One 5-ply = 5 plies
Two 3-ply = 6 plies;
One 3-ply + one 5-ply = 8 plies

One 6-ply sock can be used instead of two 3-ply socks.

Some amputees have found that use of a one-ply cotton filler sock provides a satisfactory way to obtain a still finer adjustment in thickness. If the amputee has trouble in obtaining comfort by a combination of prosthetic socks, he should consult his prosthetist immediately.

Frequent adjustments are often required in the first year. When the prosthesis does not feel comfortable during standing and walking, it should be removed and reapplied. If discomfort persists, the prosthetist should be consulted.

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Copyright 1996 - Alvin L. Muilenburg and A. Bennett Wilson, jr.

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