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Refer to our GLOSSARY section for definitions of unfamiliar terms.

The prosthetic socket of the prosthetic arm or prosthetic leg encloses the residual limb within it, creating a closed environment for the skin. Proper hygiene and maintenance of the prosthesis and limb is very important to ensure the user’s mobility. It is absolutely necessary to clean and wash any part of the prosthesis that is in direct contact with the skin, to ensure that the skin is free from any infection, cysts, contamination or bacteria. It is also very important to wash the residual limb every day to prevent skin irritations, infections, and/or other complications.

In addition to this, the user must eat healthy and always stay hydrated. It is essential to maintain a stable body weight through healthy eating habits. Hydration will help to flush out impurities and also make sure that the prosthesis continues to fit. The user must also be taught residual limb stretching and strengthening exercises as well as exercises for general body conditioning.  



  • The residual limb must be washed daily with lukewarm water and mild soap. The soap must be an anti-bacterial, fragrant free soap to prevent any skin irritation. If the user sweats a lot, he should wash the limb more than once in a day to prevent sweat accumulation.

  • It is recommended to use the same soap that the user uses for the rest of his/her body. If there are any problems with it, it is advisable to contact a dermatologist for a better solution.

  • It is very important to make sure that the limb is washed and rinsed thoroughly to remove any residual soap that may be present on it.

  • When drying the limb, it should be patted dry using a towel. Avoid rubbing the limb as it may lead to skin irritation. The limb must be patted completely dry as putting the wet limb into the socket may lead to fungal growth and infections.

  • During this process, the user must examine the limb for any abnormalities such as redness or blisters. If any abnormality persists for a long period of time, the user must immediately contact their clinician as early detection of these problems will lead to less complications.

  • In case of dry skin, it is advised to use a moisturizer at night when the prosthesis is NOT being used. Dry skin is susceptible to cracking and breakdown, making it very easy for bacteria to enter the body. Therefore, the users should pay special attention to skin hydration.

  • Any cream or lotion containing alcohol or unknown chemicals must NEVER be used on the limb. The users must use only those creams/lotions recommended by their clinician.

  • The user must check the residual limb daily for any red patches or breakdown. If they are unable to see the end of the limb, a mirror can be used to inspect the limb. This is especially IMPORTANT for people with diabetes. If there is any abnormality, the user must immediately contact his/her prosthetist.

  • Talcum powder should NEVER be used on the residual limb at it can ball up when the user sweats. This ball of powder will then create a skin abrasion, making it difficult to use the prosthesis. Reports suggest using cornstarch powder in the place of talcum powder has been more effective.

  • Since the residual limb is covered most of the time within the socket, exposure to sunlight may cause blisters. Therefore, it is recommended to use a sunscreen (SPF 30 or better).

  • It is advised to NOT shave the residual limb since the resulting short hairs may get pushed back into the skin. These ingrown hairs can then become infected and cause skin problems.

  • In cases where there is skin breakdown, the prosthesis should NOT be used. A clean dressing or anti-bacterial band aid must be put on the area and changed daily till the user is able to visit the prosthetist.

  • The skin must be kept free from sweat as excessive time in a wet environment can damage the skin. If the users has a liner or a sleeve and notices him/herself sweating, the liner must be removed, dried and worn once it is dry.

  • For users who sweat excessively, there are a few recommended antiperspirants that can be used to manage the perspiration. The users must ALWAYS discuss their available options with their prosthetist before use.


The 3 main rules for caring for the prosthesis are:

  1. The prosthesis must always be kept dry and clean.

  2. The prosthesis must be protected from any type of water damage.

  3. It must always be stored safely.

  • All liners, shrinkers and socks must be washed regularly to maintain hygiene. The users must follow the manufacturer guidelines as instructed by their prosthetist.

  • Just like the residual limb must be washed daily, the prosthetic socket must also be cleaned daily to prevent buildup of sweat, bacteria and dirt. The socket can be cleaned with a mild, non-fragrant soap and damp cloth.

  • The user should NEVER immerse the prosthesis completely in water as it can damage the prosthesis. The user should never bathe, shower or swim with a regular prosthesis. They must contact and discuss water-proof options with their prosthetist for water sports.

  • It is advisable to clean the socket in the evening/at night so that it can dry overnight before it is worn again in the morning. Wearing a wet socket can cause the skin to stick at the sides of the wall leading to skin irritation.

  • When the prosthesis is not in use, it must be stored in a dry, cool place where it may be safe from being knocked over or getting bumped. It should NEVER be stored in a hot environment such as under direct sunlight, near a radiator or near an oven.

  • The user must NEVER attempt to repair or fix the prosthesis on their own. They must immediately contact their prosthetist for assistance.

  • The user must be aware about the right landmarks on the limb for socket fit. If the user feels that something is not fitting right, he/she must immediately contact their prosthetist.

  • The user must be educated on residual limb volume changes that may occur through the day. They must keep in hand – stump socks, pull socks and bandages, when needed.


For more information on residual limb care, hygiene, prosthetic maintenance as well as home rehabilitation programs and exercises, contact Invigo Rehab (0091-8800973649, 0091-9315414056, and reach our qualified professionals!

Image by Brenda Godinez
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