How Do I Clean My Prosthetic Limb? Common Questions About Prosthetic Cleanliness

prosthetic limbsAlthough there are many different types of prostheses, there are four main types of artificial limbs including: transfemoral, transradial, transhumeral, and transtibial limbs. However, when it comes to cleaning these prostheses, the differences in where you place your prosthesis on your body has very little meaning.

Because an artificial limb acts as a limb, there’s a guarantee that that prosthetic will become dirty over time. This is especially true of prosthetic legs since those who have lost a limb will continue to walk through dirt, mud, and water periodically with their prosthetic just as they’ve done before. Fortunately, cleaning your prosthesis is remarkably easy.

How do you clean your prosthetic limb?

The majority of prosthetic limbs, particularly prosthetic legs, are made to be waterproof so as to maintain proper functioning over a long period of time. However, if you have a specialty cover or a foam cover on your prosthetic leg or limb, it’s essential to remove this cover before proceeding to clean it.

Clean off your prosthetic limb with clean water and feel free to use a little bit of soap for parts where dirt is stubborn and won’t come off. Dry off your prosthetic limbs completely before wearing them again.

Are there any exceptions to cleaning your prosthesis?

If you have custom prosthetics that have electrical devices included such as suction suspension or elevated vacuum, which use atmospheric pressure to attach to the prosthetic to the remaining limb area, then it’s best not to soak the prosthetic in water. Instead, use a damp towel to wipe down your prosthetic with a cloth and pat it dry.

Additionally, if you have a prosthetic leg that utilizes a pin lock system it’s essential that you maintain that system and rinse the area of any remaining dirt. A buildup of dirt in the pin lock system can result in your pin becoming stuck. A foot shell can also be easily taken off and cleaned of any dirt or grime that may have accumulated in the area.

What happens if you go into the ocean with your prosthetic limb?

An occasional swim in ocean water with your prosthetic limb is harmless if you’re sure to properly rinse off your artificial limb with fresh water later. However, prolonged exposure to ocean water and improper cleaning can cause the salt to corrode the materials of your prosthesis.

Additionally, if your prosthetic limbs have electronic devices, such as a knee prosthetic, you may want to ask your prosthetist before you go into the water. This part of your artificial limb may not be waterproof.

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