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Residual Limb Skin Irritation 

Jennifer Latham Robinson

“When I first met my prosthetist, I was afraid to call with questions or concerns and I tended to wait until a small problem turned into a big one.  I guess it was later when I realized that the relationship I have with my prosthetist should be open and honest and I shouldn’t hold anything back.  My prosthetist is not a mind reader and I shouldn’t feel like a pest for asking questions.  Now we have a much better relationship because I say what’s on my mind.  It makes it a better experience for both of us.”

The most common sign of an improper socket fit is skin breakdown.  Skin breakdown can vary in severity and should be addressed immediately.  There are some over-the-counter remedies to certain skin irritations (A & D Ointment is commonly used), but the amputee should contact the prosthetist prior to attempting to treat a skin irritation.  It is also advised that the amputee contact the physician for any unusual skin problems.  Otherwise, a more serious infection could easily be overlooked.

Verrucous hyperplasia
is one common type of residual limb skin irritation.  This inflamed, red, itchy rash is commonly found on the distal end of the residual limb and can be caused by a socket that is either too large, too small, or when pressure is not distributed properly.  Such skin irritation should be addressed immediately, before the irritation becomes infected and grows into a more serious problem.  If an amputee experiences this problem, a prompt appointment should be made with the prosthetist.  The prosthetist can evaluate the extent of the problem and suggest the next step in treatment.  The prosthetist will often refer the amputee back to the physician for evaluation.


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