Call: 310-362-3099

Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Taking Care of Your Residual Limb El cuidado de su extremidad residual

Taking Care of Your Residual Limb

Soon after surgery, you'll be taught how to take care of your residual limb. This is the part of your leg that remains after amputation. Follow all directions from your healthcare team closely.

Before the Sutures or Staples Come Out
A cast may be used to keep your healing limb in the proper position and to control swelling after surgery.

During surgery, the wound will have been closed with sutures or staples. Your residual limb may be covered by a cast. Or, another type of pressure dressing may be used, such as soft gauze covered by a tight bandage. This dressing is used to absorb moisture, protect your healing wound, and control swelling. No matter which type of dressing is used, it is likely to be changed often. This lets your healthcare team check how your wound is healing. You (or a family member) may also be taught how to change the dressing. It will need to be kept dry while in the shower or bath. Once at home, contact your doctor if the cast or dressing feels loose. You'll have a follow-up visit with the surgeon about 3 weeks after you get home. Your sutures or staples will be removed then. 

Working with a Physical Therapist

While in the hospital, you'll work with a physical therapist (an expert in exercise and rehab). He or she will teach you how to move your limb safely. You'll learn how to transfer (move) between two surfaces, such as a bed and a chair. You'll also learn how to support your residual limb when you sit and lie down. This helps prevent shortening of muscles and tightening of joints. You will be given an exercise program to continue at home.

After the Sutures or Staples Come Out

Once the sutures or staples are removed, desensitization can begin. This involves gently massaging, tapping, and rubbing your residual limb. Do this a few times each day. Desensitization helps prepare your limb for a prosthesis. It can also help relieve phantom pain and decrease phantom sensation. Wash your residual limb with plain soap and water, and gently pat dry. Do this at least once a day. And don't pick at scabs that form over your scar. Scabs may be gently loosened with warm, wet washcloths. While in the hospital, you'll learn about scar massage. Scar massage won't begin until the sutures or staples are out and the wound has completely healed.

Using a Shrinker Sock

After your wound has healed, you'll begin wearing a shrinker sock every day. This is a tapered sock that applies pressure to the bottom of your residual limb. The shrinker sock controls swelling. It also helps shape your limb to prepare for a prosthesis. You'll be taught how to use and clean your shrinker sock at home.

Notes for Family and Friends

Your family member or friend will have a lot to think about. You may be called on to serve as a helper, caregiver, or source of support. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Learn about wound care, residual limb care, and shrinker sock care.

  • Offer to help with desensitization. Your family member may have trouble reaching the back of his or her residual limb.

  • Be patient and supportive. Remember that your family member needs to be fully involved in self-care.

When to Call the Surgeon

While the wound is healing, watch closely for signs of infection or other problems. Call the surgeon right away if you notice:

  • Wound or residual limb has a bad smell.

  • Cast or dressing loosens or falls off.

  • Area around wound is warm or hot, or becomes red or swollen.

  • Pus or yellow drainage from the wound, or thick discharge that is brownish gray.

  • Wound reopens for any reason.

  • Sudden increase in pain or severe tenderness.

  • Fever of 100.4ºF or higher.

Date Last Reviewed: 2006-12-31T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified:

What's new in our practice

Sports Medicine Doctor Los Angeles - Michael Hannon - Orthopedic Surgeon Los Angeles

EPAT is here!

We are excited to now offer our patients EPAT treatment for chronic tendinitis...
Learn more

Sports Medicine Doctor Los Angeles - Michael Hannon - Orthopedic Surgeon Los Angeles

Dr. Mary Hannon joins the practice

Dr. Mary Hannon joins the practice to add non-operative orthopedic care and urgent/immediate care services...
Learn more

Sports Medicine Doctor Los Angeles - Michael Hannon - Orthopedic Surgeon Los Angeles

Latest News

Dr. Hannon and his wife, Dr. Mary Hannon, recently had the great privilege of returning to the Holy Family Surgery Center in Honduras...
Learn more

Connect with Hannon Orthopedics

  • SM facebook
  • SM Youtube
  • SM yelp
  • SM gplus
  • SM instagram

Read what our patients say about us

testimonials

From the first interview/evaluation through the surgery and follow ups, I have felt taken care of and in excellent, professional and kind hands. Dr. Hannon is a remarkable man, a spectacular teacher as well as surgeon. He patiently answered every question and concern in the most understandable, apprehendable way. An excellent care giver and a gifted surgeon.
~AB

Read more
Contact Us: 99 N La Cienega, Suite 304, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 •Phone: 310-362-3099 •Fax: 424-355-0555