Above the Knee Basics
Your prosthetic limb is made up of advanced plastics and carbon-fiber components, making it light and durable. A pylon, the skeleton of the limb, a socket, where your limb meets the prosthesis, and a suspension system, which keeps the prosthesis attached to your body, all make up your prosthetic limb.
There are several ways that the prosthesis can be attached to your limb:
- Suction Suspension: an air tight, suction-like seal that maintains the position of your limb in the socket.
- Locking Suspension: a gel liner with an attachment point on the bottom and a pin-locking unit.
- Fork Strap and Waist Belt Suspension: a strap attached to the prosthesis and connected to a belt worn around your waist.
|Days 1-3||1 hour on, 1 hour break||Repeat throughout the day|
|Days 4-6||2 hours on, 1 hour break||Repeat throughout the day|
|Days 7-10||3 hours on, 1 hour break||Repeat throughout the day|
|Days 11-14||4 hours on, 1 hour break||Repeat throughout the day|
|Days 15-21||Wear as tolerable||Take off if necessary|
Check your skin for any red marks or abrasions using a hand mirror. Even if the prosthesis doesn’t hurt, it’s important to check your limb. If any red marks do not diminish after 20-30 minutes, you’ll need to set up an adjustment appointment.
Weight Bearing and Ambulation
You will begin by wearing your prosthesis for standing only. Your physical therapist and prosthetist will work with you until you’re ready for walking. Until then, you can use assistive devices as directed by your physical therapist and prosthetist. Continue wearing shrinkers when not wearing the prosthesis.
Under Your Prosthesis
Sleeve: the gel or neoprene component that goes on the outside of the socket and onto the thigh.
- Turn down the sleeve onto the prosthesis.
- Position your limb inside the socket; roll the sleeve up over the prosthesis, socks, liner and onto your skin.
- At least 2" of the inner rubber must be touching your skin to create a seal.
- Take the sleeve off by rolling it down.
- Check the sleeve for holes each time you take it off as holes let air into the system and cause pistoning.
- To clean the sleeve, wipe down any section of the sleeve that comes in contact with your skin using a wet, soapy washcloth, rinsing when finished.
- Do this daily and let the sleeve dry completely before wearing.
Liner: the material rolled onto your skin to protect your limb and suspend the prosthesis.
- Put the liner on by turning it inside out and making it as flat at the bottom as possible.
- Roll it onto your skin leaving no space for air between your limb and the liner – trapped air can cause discoloration of the skin and blisters.
- To clean your liner, turn inside out and wash the gel liner with a warm washcloth and liquid hand soap. Rinse well and pat dry or let air dry.
- Always store and dry your liner inside out.
Socks: used as a barrier between the inside of the prosthesis and the residual limb.
- Socks serve to take up space inside the socket as your limb changes shape, absorb perspiration and odor and increase comfort.
- Wash and apply clean socks daily.