Cleaning and Maintaining a Prosthetic Socket

Tips and tricks for optimal prosthetic socket care

The maintenance of a prosthetic socket is fairly simple and straightforward, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Make sure that your patient has a good understanding of the proper care of his/her prosthetic socket, as good maintenance will increase the longevity of the socket and prevent any possible skin problems.

Read along for some general cleaning tips that apply to the entire Orfitrans range.

 

 

How to clean sockets and liners?

Ask your patient to clean their socket on a regular basis. The exact cleaning schedule varies from person to person and highly depends on the season and the climate. A warm and hot summer will ask for frequent cleaning whereas it may not be as necessary during winter. In general, it is best to clean the socket every day or every other day.

The best time of day to clean a prosthetic socket is at night, as this leaves enough time for the socket to dry completely. Cleaning a socket in the morning and wearing it directly afterwards, can potentially cause the skin to swell and stick to the walls of the socket because of remaining dampness. This could consequently cause irritation and friction.

We recommend cleaning thermoplastic sockets and liners with a simple solution of lukewarm water and mild soap. Stay away from any solvents or harsh cleansing agents (e.g. acetone) as these could damage the thermoplastic material. The socket can also be disinfected with alcohol or a solution of disinfecting soap.

It is important to rinse the socket thoroughly with warm water to remove any soap residue.

Lastly, the socket should be dried with a towel and left to completely air-dry overnight.

 

 

Easy donning and doffing of the prosthetic the socket

Taking off a prosthetic socket is not always an easy task, but the patient can do a couple of things to facilitate this process. We recommend using a specialized spray or gel to make donning and doffing easier.

Advise your patient to never use talc powder on the residual limb or in the socket. Over time, the powder will crystallise in the socket and form small grains that could irritate the skin.

 

How to keep the socket feeling fresh?

It is very common for patients to sweat while wearing their prosthesis, especially during the first few days or weeks of wear. In order to keep the socket feeling fresh, the patient could simply take it off throughout the day and dry their residual limb and the socket. Usually, after wearing their prosthesis for a longer period of the time, the patient should start to notice less sweating.

Patients who still tend to sweat excessively may try using regular antiperspirant before putting on their socket. We do advise to use antiperspirants with caution as they may cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin.

 

These straightforward and effective cleaning tips will ensure a comfortable prosthetic fit and keep both the residual limb and the socket in great condition.

 

Written by Marc Blij

Marc studied in Brussels and London and is a certified Orthotist and Prosthetist.

After working in an O&P lab at the Universities of Louvain and Brussels, he decided to set up his own O&P lab in Antwerp. For over 30 years, he ran his own practice, together with his wife.

Since 2006, Marc works at the Orfit Industries headquarters in Wijnegem (Belgium) as a Product and Educational Specialist in Orthotics & Prosthetics and Physical Rehabilitation.

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