Winter is coming, and that means that you’ll need to care for your residual limb differently than you do in warm weather. As anyone who uses a prosthetic device knows, you have special considerations that people without prosthetics simply can’t relate to. Stay ahead of the game with these tips to care for your residual limb during cold weather:
- Treat Joint Pain – Anyone who has experienced arthritis knows that cold weather certainly doesn’t help joint pain. And especially for weight-bearing residual limbs, you can experience a good deal of aches and pains. One way to alleviate this pain are gentle exercises in the morning to get your blood flowing and loosening stiffness that may have settled in overnight. If you’re noticing pain in the evenings, try a heating pad on the joint or residual limb for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, to see if that helps. And if all else fails, you can always benefit from a long, hot bath that can soothe your whole body.
- Moisturize Dry Skin – Everyone’s skin tends to dry out in the winter, especially in areas that are exposed to the cold weather and wind. Oftentimes, your prosthesis can exacerbate the problem by rubbing the dry skin and making it even more irritated. The most simple solution is using a solid lotion or cream every morning and evening. Consistent use is important for relieving chronic dryness. Look especially for lotions with hyaluronic acid, which literally attracts moisture to your skin’s surface and helps it to retain its natural moisture. And even though it won’t solve the issue on its own, it doesn’t hurt to make sure you’re drinking lots of water and keeping your body well-hydrated. Hydration will help you in more ways than one, anyways.
- Adjust to Smaller Limb Volume – If you’ve ever worn rings on your fingers before, you know that your fingers expand in the summer and shrink in the winter so much so that a ring that fits well in the summer may easily slide off your finger in the winter. The same concept applies to your residual limb. In the winter, your prosthesis may fit a little looser than usual. One possible way to fix this is wearing a slightly thicker sock, which may make up for the loss in limb volume. If you notice big changes in the way your prosthesis fits in the winter, make sure to let your prosthetist know so that they can help you figure out the best solution.
Use these tips to make sure you stay active and healthy through the winter season. If you’re having issues with your prosthetic device, we can help you get things right so you can enjoy the holiday season with your friends and family.