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8 Tips to Keep Your Prosthetic Liners and Sleeves from Deteriorating

Posted by Bryan Potok, CPO on

Your sleeves and prosthetic liners are your best friends, there's no doubt about it. They're easy to apply, provide great suspension and trouble-free service. Those that fit well even make your prosthesis feel infinitely lighter. There is no denying the fact that they are indispensable tools, making it important to take care of them. When mismanaged, your prosthetic liners and sleeves can become brittle and even begin to crack. They start to become odorous and just fall apart.

8 Tips to prevent your prosthetic liner and sleeve from deteriorating.

So, we at Amputee Store would like to share some tips that can help you care for your gel liners and prosthetic sleeves to ensure a proper and comfortable suspension whenever you wear your prosthesis:

1.  Avoid animal-based skin care products.

Products that contain animal fats and oil or hydrocarbon oils will eventually break down your gel liners and prosthetic sleeves. So, know what’s in your skin care products—from soaps to cream to lotions. Yes, even your sunscreen.

2. Make sure your socket fitting is comfortably tight.

Air pockets or some sort of looseness inside the liner creates gel delamination. The extra movement produced within the prosthetic socket results in the liner breaking down. It can even cause the fabric seams outside to open. You might observe some type of discoloration on the outside fabric and eventually notice the inside gel begin to thin out and tear.

The looseness affects the prosthetic liner even more when you have a locking system because the excess movement near the bottom of the pin will make the umbrella (the device that holds the pin) fall off from the liner.

3. Use the right cleanser.

The most ideal cleansers to remove sweat and grime are those that are pH balanced. Even a pinch of baby shampoo can work. Its gentle quality prevents any irritants to be left behind.

When cleaning your prosthesis, use a small amount of cleanser. Then, with your hands, wash the gel or fabric until bubbles appear. When you rinse it, make sure not to leave any residue behind. Also, make sure to avoid scrubbing motions as it may damage the surface gel.

4. Use prosthetic wipes

Prosthetic wipes work well to keep your prosthesis clean when you're on the go. It does the job of removing dead skin and preventing its accumulation. It will also eradicate foul odors that tend to build up. Make sure to use wipes that are pH balanced and alcohol-free so that your skin won't dry out.

5. Roll your prosthetic liners.

Rolling your prosthetic gel liners help prevent your nails from destroying the top of the liner. It is better than just pulling your liner into place since this method can also avoid the pulling and irritating of the skin directly on top of the liner's edge.

6. Use an appropriate drying stand.

When a prosthetic liner gets distorted or misshaped, it will become loose and, therefore, create the problems stated in tip number 2. So, make sure to use an appropriate drying stand—it doesn’t matter whether you use a professionally-made drying stand from Amputee Store or a DIY drying stand. Using one goes a long way in maintaining the liners' shape.

7. Avoid bleach at all costs.

Bleach will definitely destroy your liner's gel, no questions asked. Prosthetic wipes—preferably those with Tea Tree Oil—can do the job without having to resort to harsh and drying solutions.

8. No to heat.

Exposing your prosthetic sleeve or liner to extremely high temperatures can make the gel melt. Avoid it at all costs.

Prosthetic liners and sleeves make everyday living convenient. Caring for them doesn’t take much time, but these little things can make these devices last longer.  How do you care for your liner or prosthetic sleeve?

Care for your prosthetic liner in seven easy steps.

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  • Generally good points. #2 – I’ve not seen the umbrella pull out of a quality interface (not “liner”). A socket that is loose will wear external surface – a loose interface will cause wear of the inner surface of the interface.
    For Lloyd Weiler – a lot depends on your amputation residual-limb; capabilities & deficiencies. However, there are a number of very good fitting approaches that you ought to investigate and speak with people who have had different fitting designs. Jan Stokosa, CP, FAAOP

    Jan Stokosa, CP, FAAOP on

  • Great advice, but I would like some opinions! I have a below the knee prosthetic and it’s about 15 years old! I’ve replace the foot and shell many times but now the insert is wearing out! I’m planning to go from a soft with no pin to a gel liner! I’ve tried gel socks and I love them but I didn’t know if I can go from a foam insert to a gel liner! Any thought or opinions?

    Lloyd Weiler on


    chuck hultberg on

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