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Heat Aggravation and Prostheses

Summer time is a great opportunity to be outdoors. The warmth this season brings makes it impossible to say ‘no’ to outdoor barbecue, playing sports, or trying something new outside with family or friends. Although summer is typically associated with ‘the good times’, the heat it brings can pose a challenge for some of us, including those who wear a prosthesis.

Heat and Prosthetic-Related Issues

Summer months can bring about different health and comfort issues if you’re wearing a prosthesis. Perspiration and fluctuation of the residual limb are some of the issues that may arise during this season.

Perspiration

Limb deficiency is equated to reduced skin surface. Thus, amputees can have less efficient body cooling system.

Adding to the discomfort is the fact that the residual limb is enclosed in a prosthetic socket. This isolates it from circulating air, making it difficult for sweat to evaporate naturally from the skin’s surface. Amputees also use more energy during moving compared to people without limb loss. This further increases the body’s temperature, making it more uncomfortable.

Residual Limb Fluctuation

Residual limb fluctuation is another concern amputees have during summer. The residual limb tends to swell in response to heat. Although not a serious condition, this volume fluctuation can add to the discomfort during summer months.

Cooling Tips for Prosthetic Wearers

Having a prosthesis shouldn’t keep you from enjoying summer. There are ways on how you can stay cool and comfortable while making the most of the summer heat:

  • Thoroughly dry your skin and liner several times in a day
    Excessive perspiration can wet the skin and/or the socket interior, leading to loose fitting. A good remedy for this is to make sure to remove the prosthesis and thoroughly dry the skin and the liner several times in a day.
  • Keep spare prosthetic socks on hand
    Sweating and the heat can create an uncomfortable loose wear and may cause skin irritation. Having a good supply of prosthetic socks is a smart move. It will allow you to change, when you need to, several times in a day. Dry, comfortable socks will ensure a snug fit, preventing chafing and rashes.
  • Try an over-the-counter antiperspirant
    There are antiperspirants that designed specifically for amputees. They can help in reducing prosthetic-induced sweat without breaking down your liner.

If you have more questions on prosthetic and residual limb care during summer, the experts at Premier Prosthetic Center in Knoxville are happy to help address your concerns. Contact us today at 865-474-7096.

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