Tips for People Living with Amputation and Prosthetics

If you’re living with an amputation and a prosthetic, it’s especially crucial to be prepared for whatever might go wrong in the day. You’ll never regret taking too many things with you. With the right tools, clothing, and attitude, you’ll be geared up for anything life sends you.

Keep the right clothing on hand

Always carry with you plenty of Knit-Rite socks. You never know when perspiration or odor will make you long for a fresh pair or when things might be a lot colder than you anticipated.

If you’re a woman, you may feel a lot of pressure to wear “cute” shoes, when you should really be wearing shoes to make you feel stable and confident. Get shoes that fit securely and consider getting some Velcro patches to put on the bottom of your foot to hold on the shoe more securely.

A final tip is to keep plenty of iron-on patches in your arsenal. These are easy to apply to the inside of your clothes anywhere you don’t want a prosthetic to rub away the material.

Take care of your skin

Your skin isn’t always happy about your prosthetics and liners, so soothe it with the right skin care routine. Organic coconut oil offers great protection in places that rub, and it’s also a healing, comfortable night lotion. If you get extra-virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, you won’t have to worry about smelling like a tiki bar all the time.

A silicone-based lotion, if you’re not allergic, can make all the difference under a sock or liner during the day. Other lotions are made for your skin to absorb; but once it does, your liner starts to chafe. A silicon-based lotion won’t absorb into your skin and will provide a barrier between skin and liner all day long.

Build muscle

Your body will have difficulty learning to deal with a prosthetic. You can help it along by building all the muscle you possibly can. Muscle protects you in a fall, gives you better balance so that you’re less likely to fall, and keeps your joints and ligaments where they’re supposed to be.

Of course building muscle means time at the gym, but it also means plenty of high-quality protein. Don’t be afraid of red meat: it has the ideal set of complete amino acids that humans need for muscle building.

The only type of meat to avoid is processed meat. Fresh meat from grass-fed and pastured animals is great for building muscle and great for you in general.

Have a toolkit

Life happens, and you have some unique challenges to prepare for. Your personal toolkit should include a few things that will make problems easier to deal with.

You can never have too many Allen wrenches. These are great for tightening key points of your prosthetic on the fly and even for making adjustments if you’re able to do so (but always talk to your doctor before you start adjusting your prosthetic). Keep one of these in your car, at work, and in every bag.

Have plenty of shoe horns so that you’ll never struggle to get your shoes on. Keep long ones at home and in your gym locker, and short ones or travel shoe horns in your bags and car.

Finally, consider carrying plumber’s tape with you. One of the most annoying things in the world is a squeaking pin, and you should never put WD-40 or other oil-based lubricants on plastic pins to stop the squeak. A wrap or two of plumber’s tape, however, will shut it right up.