How to care for your residual limb properly following amputation

An amputation is a major operation that not only has an emotional impact, but also a physical one. After all, an amputation leaves behind a serious wound. To promote a speedy and proper recovery, it is extremely important that your amputation wound heals well. You cannot continue the rehabilitation process until your residual limb has healed properly. How can you promote this healing?

In the hospital, the nurses and doctors care for your amputation wound(s) carefully. They also change your bandages regularly. During rehabilitation, you are suddenly alone in caring for your residual limb, scar and healthy leg. This is a major transition. But good residual limb care is essential – for your further rehabilitation process and later on for a good fitting of your prosthesis.

How do you care for your residual limb properly?

The right care for your residual limb starts in the hospital. Immediately after your operation, you are cared for by the doctors and nurses. You also receive instructions from your physical therapist or nurse on good residual limb care after you are discharged from hospital. 

Important actions during the healing process of your residual limb:

  • Wash your residual limb in the morning and evening with water and mild soap. Always dry it thoroughly afterwards.
  • After washing, apply moisturiser. At Ottobock, we offer the DermaSkin skin care line . These skin creams are specially developed to care for highly sensitive skin. Your doctor, therapist or nurse can recommend the products that are most suitable for your situation. 
  • Massage your residual limb regularly and carefully stretch the scar. Your doctor or therapist can explain the best way to do this.

Residual limb care issues

Since your operation, have you been you experiencing problems with skin folds or contracture scars that limit the freedom of movement of your limb? Discuss these issues with your rehabilitation team. It is important to be alert to possible problems in order to prevent infection and future movement issues. Pay attention to wounds, pressure points and blisters and mention these to your doctor or therapist. These issues require medical treatment. Want to inspect the back of your residual limb? A mirror gives you a better view.


More tips on caring for your residual limb

You can help promote the healing of your residual limb and a successful rehabilitation process. There are a variety of techniques that can help reduce the swelling of your residual limb after your amputation. Bandaging your residual limb, wearing a compression sock or using a silicone liner are popular forms of compression therapy