How to Care for Your Prosthesis

Four Methods:Maintaining Your ProsthesisCleaning Your ProsthesisWearing Your Prosthesis CorrectlyKeeping Your Limb Clean and Healthy

Prosthetics have a long history of helping people who have lost a limb. These artificial limbs can allow you to resume your usual levels of activity, restore lost mobility and help get your life back on track. However, in order to get the most out of your prosthesis, you'll need to properly care for, wear and clean it. Practicing proper prosthetic maintenance can also keep you comfortable and keep your prosthesis in great shape.

Method 1
Maintaining Your Prosthesis

  1. Image titled Care for Your Prosthesis Step 1
    Report any issues to your prosthetist. You may be able to fix some issues with your prosthesis on your own. However, if you encounter a problem that you don't know how to fix or are unsure of what to do, contact your prosthetist. Making an adjustment without knowing what you are doing can cause your prosthesis to break, wear out faster or may even cause you personal injury. Always ask your prosthetist for help when your prosthesis needs repair.[1]
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    Check for loose screws, bolts or other mechanical parts on your prosthesis. Over the course of regular use, some parts of your prosthesis may come loose. Because of this, you'll want to regularly check your prosthesis for any parts that may be in need of tightening, adjustment or replacement. Keeping all parts of your prosthesis in their proper position will help ensure a comfortable fit, continued function and prolonged durability.[2][3][4]
    • You will need the help of your prosthetist to make many adjustments to your prosthesis.
    • If you are unsure of how to make a minor adjustment at home, don't hesitate to ask your prosthetist for help.
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    Listen for unusual noises coming from your prosthesis. If your prosthesis isn't functioning correctly, you may notice that it makes an unusual noise. The exact noise it makes will depend on the type of prosthesis you have. However, any noise that is out of the ordinary should be looked into or discussed with your prosthetist.[5][6]
    • Any unusual clicking, grinding or popping noises should be investigated.
    • New clicks, scraping sounds or squeaks might indicate a problem with your prosthesis.
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    Keep an eye out for any cracks or breaks that appear on your prosthesis. Over time, your prosthesis will suffer from daily wear and tear. Because of this, you'll want to regularly check your prosthesis for any signs of cracking or breaking. If you notice any cracks forming or you see that your prosthesis is in danger of falling apart in some place, let your prosthetist know immediately. [7][8]
    • Even a small crack should be addressed with your prosthetist.
    • Always check your prosthesis for cracks or tears before wearing it for the day.
    • If you plan on traveling, make sure your prosthesis is in a suitable condition before leaving.

Method 2
Cleaning Your Prosthesis

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    Clean the gel liner. The inside of the gel liner will be in constant contact with your limb. Because of this, you'll want to make sure your gel liner is kept clean to prevent health issues and make your liner last longer. You'll want to clean your liner once every day. Cleaning the liner is a simple process and can be done by following these steps:[9]
    • Remove the liner from the prosthesis.
    • Spot clean the outside of the liner if needed.
    • Turn the liner inside out.
    • Wash the gel section of the liner with anti-bacterial soap and warm water.
    • Fully rinse the soap off of the liner and dry it with a clean cloth.
    • Turn the liner right side out and store it for future use.
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    Clean your prosthesis socks or sheaths daily. Wearing a prosthesis sock or sheath for more than a day can cause the sock to quickly wear out and may pose a health risk. You'll want to make sure that you are washing your prosthesis socks on a daily basis and are always wearing a fresh one. Most manufacturers will provide their own cleaning instructions which you will need to follow to ensure that your sock or sheath is properly cleaned and cared for.[10][11]
    • If your sock becomes soaked with perspiration, you should change it as soon as possible.
    • Washing a sock will help keep it clean and restore it to its intended shape.
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    Keep the socket of the prosthesis clean. Although your skin won't come into direct contact with the prosthesis socket, you'll still need to keep it clean. Cleaning the socket will keep your artificial limb functioning properly and can help reduce unnecessary wear. Follow these steps to completely clean the inside of the prosthesis socket:[12]
    • Clean the inside socket at least once a week.
    • Lightly spray the socket with an alcohol based cleaner.
    • Wipe the socket dry.
    • Make sure to keep any locking or pin mechanisms clean and free of obstructions.
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    Be careful when cleaning your prosthesis. Your prosthesis may have certain parts that could be damaged, broken or otherwise ruined during a cleaning. Electrical components, mechanical devices and certain models of prosthesis can all be damaged by water or corrosive cleaning agents. Talk with your prosthetist to learn more about how to safely clean your unique prosthesis.[13]
    • Long term exposure to salt water can corrode parts of your prosthesis.
    • Make sure there is no dirt stuck in the pin lock system, should your model have that feature.
    • Always remove and clean the inside of a foot shell to avoid trapping corrosive or damaging material inside.
    • Avoid getting your prosthesis wet if it has electronic components.

Method 3
Wearing Your Prosthesis Correctly

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    Make sure your prosthesis fits properly. Prosthetic limbs will need to be properly fitted in order to ensure their functionality and comfort. Your prosthesis will likely need daily adjustments to achieve a proper fit. Whenever you are wearing your prosthesis, make sure it fits properly to help your limb stay comfortable and to avoid damaging your prosthesis.[14]
    • Your prosthetist will advise you on how to properly fit your unique prosthesis.
    • Most adjustments will be made by adding more layers of padding, compressing your limb or other simple adjustments. Do not make any adjustments to the prosthesis itself unless your prosthetist has shown you how to do so.
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    Be prepared to refit your prosthesis each day. Even though you may have properly attached your prosthesis in the morning, it is likely that the fit will change over the course of your day. Your prosthesis may shift or your limb may have slightly changed shape, resulting in an uncomfortable fit. Be ready to make small adjustments during the day to help keep you comfortable and maintain your prosthesis.[15]
    • Humidity can cause your limb to swell and alter the fit of your prosthesis.
    • Cold temperatures can cause your limb to shrink, requiring you to readjust your prosthesis.
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    Keep extra supplies handy. Because you never know when you'll need to make an adjustment to your prosthesis or limb, it's a good idea to carry extra supplies with you during your day. These supplies will help you refit your prosthesis whenever you may need to. Take a look at some of these items to learn more about what your prosthesis kit might look like: [16][17]
    • Stump or pull socks
    • Bandages
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Antihistamine ointment
    • Antiperspirant
    • Tool kit
  4. Image titled Care for Your Prosthesis Step 12
    Keep your prosthesis dry. It is very important that you keep your prosthesis dry during the day. Keeping your prosthesis dry will help protect the prosthesis from additional wear and will also help keep your limb safe from infections or rashes. Always keep your prosthesis as dry as possible whenever you are wearing it.[18]
    • If your prosthesis becomes wet, take it off and dry it completely before wearing it again.
    • Moisture can build up inside your prosthesis in hot temperatures. You'll want to clean and dry your prosthesis if you notice any perspiration collecting.

Method 4
Keeping Your Limb Clean and Healthy

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    Wash your limb daily. Because your limb will be kept inside your prosthesis during the day, your skin may have difficulty breathing properly. You will need to take extra care to properly and completely clean your limb everyday in order to prevent a skin condition from developing. Make sure your limb is kept as clean as possible both before and after using your prosthesis.[19][20]
    • A small rash or irritation could turn into an ulcer or cut, preventing you from using your prosthesis until it heals.
    • Keeping your limb clean will help you get the most out of your prosthesis.
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    Bathe at night, rather than in the morning. Because of hot water or the position you place your limb during a bath or shower, some swelling may occur. This swelling can affect the fit of your prosthesis when you go to wear it. For this reason, it's a good idea to bathe in the evening, when you are ready to take your prosthesis off for the night.[21]
    • Bathing in the morning may make your prosthesis difficult to put on properly.
    • Bathing may affect new amputees the most, causing their limb to swell and changing the fit of their prosthesis.
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    Monitor your skin for signs of irritation or infection. It is very important that you keep a close eye on the health of your limb. If you notice any signs that your limb is being affected by your prosthesis, talk with your prosthetist as soon as possible. Keep an eye out for some of these following symptoms to help keep your limb healthy and allow you to comfortably continue using your prosthesis:[22][23]
    • Irritation
    • Red areas
    • Any breakdown of the skin
    • Dry or cracked skin
    • Abrasions
    • Ingrown or infected hair follicles
    • Skin ulcers


  • Make sure you follow all of your doctor's instructions.
  • Don't be afraid to ask any questions you might have about caring for or wearing your prosthesis.

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Categories: Medication and Medical Equipment