How your patients can prevent prosthetic socket infections.
In the past, we’ve talked a lot about caring for a patient’s prosthetic as it relates to its comfort and appearance. What we haven’t really touched on too much is the fact that neglecting a prosthetic can lead to skin irritation and prosthetic socket infections. The good news is that all patients need to do is spend a little bit of time and effort caring for their prosthetic to make sure that it’s not causing any ill effects. Let’s take a look at the signs of a prosthetic socket infection and how to prevent infections from appearing or worsening.
Signs of Prosthetic Socket Infections
Prosthetic socket technology has come a very long way in the past few decades, but that doesn’t mean that patients should skimp on care. The truth is that a patient’s skin is still sensitive to irritation, which could lead to harmful infections. There are several different signs of infection, ranging from tenderness and pain to bad odors and pustules. This is why a prosthetic patient should always be on the lookout for potential or existing infections.
Dangers of Prosthetic Socket Infections
Anyone who has been fitted with a prosthesis should be very concerned with the possibility of an infection. Even though most patients will catch an infection early on so that it doesn’t get any worse than a bit of irritation or maybe a bad rash, others suffer much worse consequences. If the situation gets bad enough, especially in the first couple of years following an amputation, the new joint could be damaged. When this occurs, a second prosthetic replacement may be required.
How to Prevent Prosthetic Socket Infections
Prosthetic socket infections can be very painful and stressful. In severe situations, a patient may have difficulty walking or otherwise functioning, depending on where the prosthesis is located. Luckily, there are some easy ways to prevent prosthetic socket infections from occurring or worsening.
These tips should keep patients on the right track:
Start with a Proper Fitting
The first thing a patient and his or her doctor need to do to lessen potential infections is to ensure a proper socket fit. This is done by working closely with the prosthetic socket fabrication company. A reputable company will be able to provide you with a preview model that shows exactly how the prosthetic will look and fit on your patient. It’s also important to bring up any concerns immediately so that the socket can be remade if needed.
Bathe or Shower in the Evening
Limbs often swell up in hot water, which can make it more difficult for your patient to put on his or her prosthesis. When this happens, it can increase the likelihood of an infection. Even though it’s not a huge deal, we’d suggest that patients bathe or shower in the evening instead of waiting until the morning just before they leave home. This will reduce the chances of a skin breakdown and prevent socket infection.
Wash the Socket Once Per Day
If your patient wants to prevent infection, then they’re going to need to pay close attention to their socket. Although there are certain cleaners available, all that’s really needed is a small amount of mild soap and water. The trick, if you want to call it that, is that the socket needs to be cleaned once per day. This will prevent skin irritation, infection, and other potential skin problems.
Remove Prosthesis Each Night
A great way for your patient to keep their prosthetic socket free of infection is to remove the prosthesis each night before bed. This gives them a great opportunity to check for skin irritation, blisters, sores, etc. It’s also a good idea to check the prosthetic for any loose parts or damage, which could also be the source of a prosthetic socket infection.
Check for Problems Every Day
We understand that taking care of a prosthetic can feel like a real chore. But, even with today’s advanced technology, problems can arise when patients don’t pay enough attention to their prostheses. Even though they may see it as a bit of a nuisance, it’s important to instill in them the need to check for any problems every single day without question.
Maintain Stable Body Weight
Many patients don’t realize how much their own body weight can work against them when it comes to preventing socket infections. The weight itself can be very taxing on your patient’s body, which can cause complications with their prosthesis. It’s also true that people who work out and eat healthier to maintain their body weight are typically better at fighting infections.
Control Blood Sugar Levels to Prevent Socket Infection
It’s rather common and unfortunate for patients with diabetes to require amputation. Following the fitting of a prosthesis, it’s still very important that diabetics control their blood sugar levels. This will help maintain their health, which will keep their immune system strong. This can help prevent infections from forming or worsening.
Schedule a Prosthetist Visit
If a patient notices any infections or other problems with their prosthesis, they may not want to tackle it alone. After all, this is a very important piece of hardware, and severe skin issues or other complications may arise. Instead, they should schedule an appointment with their doctor so that you can work together to find a solution.
Contact Grace to for Custom Prosthetic Design and Fabrication
Grace Prosthetics Fabrication helps develop the very best custom prosthetic devices for patients across the nation. If you have any questions about prosthetic or orthotic development and customization or any other issues, give us a call at (800) 940-5347 today.