As the weather warms up many people are ready to get active. The nice weather can be inspiring and motivating to get outside and enjoy a variety of summer activities. As an amputee there may be a unique set of challenges and questions when enjoying the summer months.
Wearing gel/silicone liners and ply socks, along with warmer weather can be a challenge due to perspiration, especially during physical activity. Prosthetic use when your limb is in a wet environment within a liner can cause skin damage to your residual limb.
When you are planning to be out in the warm weather it is important to be prepared. Pack a bag that will have everything you might need. Make sure you have extra ply socks, a towel and an extra liner. Some amputees use an antiperspirant to reduce perspiration. When it comes to antiperspirant you should speak to your physician and your Prosthetist. There are some antiperspirants that can be prescribed to help with sweat that causes irritation. If you are going to be in the heat for an extended amount of time, take your prosthesis off a couple times throughout the day. Use a towel to dry off your residual limb and possibly switch to a clean dry liner. Be sure to thoroughly wash and dry your liner so that there is no build up of germs or bacteria. In extreme cases, where perspiration is out of control and causing consistent and persistent problems talk to your physician or Prosthetist about other options.
When it comes to water activities, there are a couple of options. If you have a regular prosthesis, you may want to avoid getting it wet as it can cause some components to rust. There are prostheses that are manufactured especially for use in water. These can be completely submerged in water with no risk of water damage. There are also prostheses that have been developed and labeled as ‘weatherproof’ which means they can have some exposure to moisture without causing damage. If your prosthesis is not water or weatherproof but you would still like to spend time in the water, doing so without your prosthetic limb is the best decision. This way there is no risk of damage to your prosthesis. If you are unsure if your prosthesis is water or weatherproof and you would like to take part in water related activities make sure to ask your Prosthetist.
If you plan on heading to the beach it is important to be careful that sand does not sneak into parts of your prosthesis. Sand can cause long-term damage to your prosthesis if not managed properly. Talk to your Prosthetist on how best to manage these situations.
If there are any specific activities you would like to do, it is always good to start by speaking to your Prosthetist about where to get accurate information and the best products that will suit your goals and needs.
Most importantly, be sure to get out and enjoy the warm weather safely!