Prosthetic Liner Issues? Here Are the Possible Causes, Solutions
Even with the latest advancements in prosthetic liner technology, including advanced gel and silicone formulas, problems can still arise from using a prosthetic liner. This is mainly because the gel casing is subject to almost 2.5 times the user's body weight with each step.
If you are experiencing problems with your prosthetic liner, don't worry, we can help. Here are some of the most common causes of liner issues and their appropriate solutions.
Skin irritation all over your residual limb
If you are experiencing skin irritation all over your residual limb, there may be several causes and solutions to consider.
CAUSE NO. 1: It could be related to cleaning or disinfecting your liner incorrectly.
SOLUTION: To resolve this, you must follow the proper cleaning, rinsing, and disinfection procedures as instructed by the prosthetic liner manufacturer and your prosthetist.
CAUSE NO. 2: It may be due to using a harsh or irritating lotion, cream, powder, or soap.
SOLUTION: If you notice irritation after using a new product, stop using it immediately.
CAUSE NO. 3: It could be related to washing your residual limb too frequently.
SOLUTION: Washing more than once per day can result in increased skin irritation. It is recommended to follow a regular cleaning routine and consider using prosthetic wipes if you need to clean more than once daily.
CAUSE NO. 4: It may indicate an infection of the limb and prosthetic liner.
SOLUTION: Contact your prosthetist and dermatologist for assistance.
CAUSE NO. 5: It may be due to a loose liner or prosthetic socket, which can occur if your residual limb has shrunk.
SOLUTION: Contact your prosthetist for further assistance.
Skin irritation along the top edge of the liner
CAUSE: Your prosthetic liner may have been pulled onto your residual limb instead of being rolled onto it, or it may be too tight.
SOLUTION: To put on a prosthetic liner properly, it's important to invert the liner first and place the end of it against the end of your limb. If you're using a locking liner, make sure to center the pin attachment on the bottom of your limb.
Next, gently roll the liner up onto your residual limb, avoiding any pulling which could stretch the skin and lead to discomfort. If you continue to experience issues, it may be best to contact your prosthetist for further assistance.
Heavy sweating in a prosthetic liner can be caused by several factors.
CAUSE NO. 1: If you have recently started using a liner, your body may still be adjusting to it.
SOLUTION: Give yourself a few weeks to adjust. However, if the issue persists, it's important to contact your prosthetist.
CAUSE NO. 2: If you have been wearing the liner for a long time without sweating and suddenly experience heavy sweating, it could be because air is getting between the liner and your residual limb due to your limb shrinking in size.
SOLUTION: It’s important to contact your prosthetist to address the issue.
CAUSE NO. 3: Heavy sweating after wearing a liner for a long time without sweating could also be caused by a hole in the prosthetic liner.
SOLUTION: Contact your prosthetist to get the liner repaired or replaced.
CAUSE NO. 4: If you are using a SmartTemp prosthetic liner and still experiencing heavy sweating, it could mean that the liner is unable to store more body heat.
SOLUTION: To relieve the issue, try cooling down in a cool environment, such as a cool room or with cool water, applying cold or ice, or drinking cool liquids.
If your prosthetic socket's locking liner moves up and down (also known as “pistoning), it may mean your residual limb has shrunk, causing poor suspension. Contact your prosthetist for the best solution.
The liner is rolling down
If your prosthetic liner's top edge is rolling down your residual limb, it could be too tight or short. Contact your prosthetist right away.
If you have any open wounds or non-intact skin on your residual limb, it's important to contact your prosthetist right away. Be sure to follow their instructions carefully and avoid using a liner in direct contact with any open sores or non-intact skin. Instead, if you need to wear a liner over these areas, use a bandage to cover the wound first.
The bottom line
Prosthetic liner issues can happen to anyone who uses a liner. This is why it’s best to follow your prosthetist’s advice on properly putting on your liner, as well as daily cleaning and weekly disinfecting procedures. Following these three things closely will dramatically reduce your chances of developing liner issues. It’s also essential to learn how to manage residual limb volume loss, as adjusting the thickness of your prosthetic socks could help keep liner issues at bay.