With the Summer season upon us, everyone is anxious to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, long daylight, patios, pools, beaches, summer sports, and more. However, summer also means heat, and that equals sweating.
While many amputees deal with sweating, especially in the beginning when you are just starting to wear ply socks, gel and silicone liners, expecting to now deal with sweating in the summer months can seem unbearable. Don’t fear! We have some tips below to help you battle sweat so that you can enjoy the temperature rising.
Here are some summer tips for new amputees
- If you do not already have a bag for extra ply socks that you carry with you, start putting one together. Include a couple of small towels or face cloths in that bag and take that bag with you wherever you go.
- Take your prosthesis off periodically throughout the day. With a dry towel, wipe down your residual limb, liner, and suspension (if you wear one). If you have a spare liner in your bag, switch to a fresh one. Wash and thoroughly dry the one you just removed before storing it back in your bag or putting it back on. A large buildup of sweat is not only uncomfortable, but it is also a hotbed for germs and bacteria. For lower limb amputees, your liner will make “farting” noises when you take a step, and that can be just downright embarrassing!
- Wear extra ply socks. You are probably thinking that you already sweating enough, why would you wear more ply socks. Well, as you sweat, your residual limb also loses volume. As you loose volume, your socket can start coming loose. You want to make sure that your prosthesis is fitting snugly. Also, the “pistoning” that you feel can be a blister or a skin breakdown waiting for a place to happen.
- Antiperspirant. You need to check with your doctor about the use of antiperspirant on your residual limb. New amputees are more prone to skin breakdown especially if your incision wound has not completely healed yet. But there is both over-the-counter and prescription antiperspirant that your physician can recommend for you to use. Some are sprays that are applied just before donning the liner, and some have to be applied overnight. Antiperspirants can reduce perspiration all day. Ask your physician for the appropriate product for you and ask your prosthetist if the product can work with the type of liner you use.
- Wash your liner. Your prosthetist has probably talked to you about properly washing your liner but in the summer months, you want to make sure that you actually do it. Again, your liner is a hotbed for germs and bacteria so make sure that you thoroughly wash and dry it.
- If you only wear ply socks with your prosthesis, make sure you change your sweaty ply socks with clean dry ones.
- Get Botox. This is probably the most drastic and most expensive. But if you experience excessive sweating, Botox has been approved to treat excessive sweating. Botox can only be administered by a physician to speak to your doctor about it.
See A Professional
If our tips are still unsuccessful it might me time to see a professional. Your prosthetist and your doctor can help determine the best course of action or solution for you. They can address all of your summer heat questions and concerns. There are also other factors to consider other than sweating to determine what would be helpful for you. These are just some of the things that have worked for many amputees in the past. So enjoy the summer and don’t sweat it!
Amputee Coalition of Toronto welcomes all amputees in Toronto and the surrounding GTA to join our support group for more information on monthly meetups, upcoming events, and a safe space to share your journey. We’re in this together!