Care of Your Prosthetic Device: Do’s and Don’ts
by Amber Henson, on Oct 12, 2020
Your prosthetic success is our first priority. One of the ways you can achieve that success is by taking care of your prosthetic device, which will maximize its function and lifespan. Following a daily care and cleaning schedule and a regular maintenance schedule for your prosthesis will extend its life and enhance your comfort while wearing it. If problems do occur, report them to your prosthetist for repair or adjustment. Let’s start with some basics below:
- Keep in mind that your prosthesis is a mechanical device that requires basic care and cleaning as well as regular maintenance by a prosthetist or technician.
- Contact your prosthetist if you have any questions or concerns regarding your prosthesis or your treatment.
- Be cautious around children and pets as some prostheses provide a firm grip that can cause injury. Additionally, your pet may regard your prosthesis as a toy so make sure to keep it safe from them.
- Follow the initial wear schedule as described by your prosthetist and therapist, monitoring your skin closely for any signs of skin irritation.
- If you use an electric prosthesis, please avoid vibration, dust, and dirt as this may cause damage to the internal components of the device.
- Anytime any part of your device gets wet, either on purpose or by accident, be sure to dry it thoroughly. Some parts on body-powered or passive devices may not be stainless and could rust if left wet. One option to be sure is to use compressed air, and letting the device drain.
- Contact your prosthetist immediately for repair if anything on your prosthesis is not working properly.
- Take advantage of Arm Dynamics therapy services to improve your rehabilitation process.
- Let your prosthetist or therapist know if you would like to talk with a professional counselor.
- Submerge your prosthesis in water unless specifically approved by your prosthetist — this is critical with electric devices! In accordance, don't put any part of your device in the dishwasher or washing machine. Even if they are waterproof, the machinery can hurt the device.
- Use any part of the prosthesis as a hammer or wedge.
- Try to modify anything on your prosthesis; instead, make an appointment to discuss modifications with your prosthetist. We’ve heard it all, so don’t be shy about telling us how we can help you make your ideal prosthetic device.
- Do not use your prosthesis to drive or grasp the controls of any motor vehicle until you have received the services of a driver rehabilitation professional. These professionals will evaluate the practicality of incorporating a prosthesis into driving tasks. We can provide resources as to professional rehabilitation services convenient to your home and support research for any state specific regulations related to driving.
- Don't leave your prosthetic device in your car where it is visible. We have had several patients who have had their device stolen from their vehicle. In addition, leaving your prosthesis in the sun can make any colors on the device fade, and the plastics could (in theory, if the car was hot enough) melt.
- Most importantly, don’t pressure yourself to do too much too soon with your new prosthesis; it takes time for your body and mind to adjust. Take breaks as needed.
We know these are a lot of do’s and don’ts, but what’s important to remember is that using your prosthesis is the goal and with that comes eventual soiling, scratches and needed repairs. When we see a well-used (and well-loved!) prosthesis, we know it was serving its purpose and that we’ve done our job! We will be publishing another article next week where we’ll discuss daily care of your prosthesis. For now, if you are experiencing any issues with your device, please contact us. Or if you have tips for your fellow prosthetic device users, please comment below.
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