Main Content

Recovering After Lower Limb Amputation

Care of your remaining leg

After amputation, it is important to protect your remaining leg. You can practise daily habits to put less stress on your remaining leg and prevent health problems such as foot ulcers and infection.

Foot care

Look at your foot every day with a mirror. Check for sores, blisters, cracks, or dry skin.

Toenail care

Trim your toenails often and carefully. Try not to cut or scrape your foot while you do this.

If you have problems with blood flow (circulation) or have lost some feeling in your foot, have a foot specialist (podiatrist, chiropodist, or nurse foot specialist) trim your toenails for you.

Foot washing

Wash your foot every day with a mild soap without perfume and lukewarm water. Don’t soak your foot in water for more than 10 to 15 minutes.

After washing, dry between your toes and pat your skin dry with a clean cloth or a paper towel. Extra wetness on your skin can cause it to breakdown or get infected.

Gently file the skin of your foot with a pumice stone or foot file to prevent thick, hard skin (called calluses). Only file your skin when it is dry. Don’t use blades or powered foot files.

Use a good quality lotion on the top and bottom of your foot after each wash. Don’t put lotion between your toes.

Keeping good blood flow in your limb

To help with swelling, keep your remaining limb up when resting.

Stop and rest right away if you have pain or muscle spasm in your remaining leg when walking.

Don’t use a hot-water bottle, an electric heating pad, or any heat on your foot. This is especially important if you have blood flow problems or have lost some feeling in your foot.


It is important that your shoe fits well and supports your foot. Follow shoe tips:

  • Check your shoe for rough spots, torn linings, and foreign objects.
  • When you buy new shoes, get fitted at the end of the day when your feet tend to be most swollen.
  • Make sure your shoes are comfortable and fit well when you buy them. Don’t plan on them stretching out over time.
  • Think about replacing your shoes every 6 months or as needed to make sure they give you the best support.
  • Wear shoes and socks (cotton or wool socks without elastic at the top) all the time to protect and support your foot.

Choosing footwear

It’s important to have shoes that fit well. If they don’t, it can cause rubbing, calluses, and blisters.

At the store

When buying shoes in a store, ask a salesperson to help you find the right size and fit.

It can be hard to know if a shoe fits properly if you have lost feeling in your foot. Draw an outline of your foot on a piece of rigid paper and bring it with you when you shop for shoes. If you can remove the insole of the shoe, place it on the outline of your foot to see if the shoe is wide enough.

Tips for choosing footwear

Choose shoes that:

  • Are soft and flexible with a closed toe and heel, and no seams or ridges in the lining.
  • Have good heel support with a snug collar to prevent heel slipping.
  • Have a toe box that is deep and wide enough for your toes to move, especially if you have hammertoes or other conditions.
  • Don’t feel tight when you are standing and have about the width of a finger between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
  • Have a firm and supportive instep or arch support.
  • Have a shock-absorbing outer sole, a firm, wide, and non-slip base, and a heel no higher than 2.5cm (1 inch).
  • Have shoelaces or Velcro straps that you can loosen if your foot swells.

When you get new shoes, start by wearing them for short times until you are used to them. Check your foot for redness or skin irritation.

Wear new shoes for short times at first. Check your foot for redness or skin irritation.​

Go to Top