If you're a diabetic who has been fitted with a lower prosthetic, then you already realize that caring for your feet is absolutely essential to the success of your new limb or extremity. Here at New Hope Prosthetic and Orthotic Services, we want to help you prevent problems before they start and to help make diabetic skin care part of your daily routine.
Maintenance Tip # 1 - Simple Skin Examination
First and foremost, it is important to remember that ulcers, sores, and other injuries could lead to a potentially life-threatening infection. If you also suffer from neuropathy, you may have decreased sensations that alert you of any damage to the skin. For this reason, daily examination of the skin is incredibly important. What should you look for? If you notice any unusual bruising, blisters, cuts, swelling, discoloration that doesn't fade within minutes of removing your prosthetic, or wounds, then you should contact your doctor as soon as possible. It may be easy to overlook skin in places that are difficult to see, so invest in a handheld mirror.
Maintenance Tip # 2 - Keep Things Dry
It is common for a prosthetic leg to cause perspiration in and around the socket since air is not freely circulating around the limb, but it is critical to keep the skin as dry as possible. Combined with friction, it is all too easy for stress to be placed on the skin. Some amputees have found that witch hazel is helpful when it comes to moisture management, but rubbing alcohol should usually be avoided due to overdrying unless told otherwise by your physician. Regardless, we recommend at least 15 minutes of air drying before applying your prosthetic. Additionally, if you wear a special sock, ensure that it is changed daily and washed as soon as possible to avoid build-up from perspiration. Other conditions, such as edema and hypersensitivity, can occur if your prosthetic is causing too much friction on the skin. The best plan of action is to be diligent and report any problems as soon as you notice them
Maintenance Tip # 3 - Are You Using The Correct Suds?
You want to avoid bacterial or fungal infections at all costs, so a special soap may be recommended as part of your daily routine. Soaps that contain antibacterial agents, such as triclosan, are inexpensive, widely available, and easy to find at local pharmacies. Many ordinary bar soaps are also antibacterial, which can be used for not only cleansing your limb but general bathing. Ultimately, when it comes to your personal prosthetic, you should get a professional recommendation on which soap is correct for your skin. After bathing, you may be tempted to apply lotions or moisturizers, but these can sometimes damage your prosthetic, especially if they contain petroleum. If you do apply lotion, make sure it's before bedtime or at a time when you will not immediately be wearing your prosthetic.
Maintenance Tip # 4 - Hydrate
No matter the time of year, you should always make sure you're drinking enough water to keep your skin healthy. If you're particularly active, it's especially critical that you're getting enough fluids. When it comes to the condition of your skin, it's amazing how preventative drinking enough water can be. In addition to contributing to your general health and weight management, water should always be a part of your routine - all day, every day.
Do you have more questions about diabetic skin care in relation to your prosthetic? Contact us at New Hope Prosthetic and Orthotic Services today.