After amputation it’s important to protect your remaining leg. By taking certain steps you can develop daily habits to help lessen the added stress on your remaining leg and prevent health problems such as foot ulcers and infection.
- Look at your foot each day with a mirror for sores, blisters, cracks, or dry skin.
- Trim your toenails frequently. If you have problems with blood flow (circulation) or have lost some feeling in your foot, have a podiatrist, chiropodist, or nurse foot specialist trim them for you.
- Try not to cut or scrape your foot, especially if you trim your own toe nails.
- Don’t soak your foot in water for more than 10 to 15 minutes.
- Wash your foot each day with a mild soap without perfume and lukewarm water.
- After washing, dry in 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
- Keep your remaining limb up when resting to help prevent or manage swelling.
- Stop and rest right away if you have pain or muscle spasm in your remaining limb when walking.
- Don’t use a hot water bottle, an electric heating pad, or other sources of 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.
- 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 at all times to protect and support your foot.
Shoes that don’t fit well can cause rubbing, calluses and blisters. Choose shoes that:
- Are soft and flexible with a closed toe and heel, and no seams or ridges in the lining.
- Have a comfortable fit and enough room to move your toes.
- Are wide and deep enough for your foot, 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 buying shoes in a store, ask a salesperson to help you find the right size and fit.
- If you have lost feeling in your foot it can be hard to know if a shoe fits properly. 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.
- Wear new shoes for short periods of time until your foot gets used to it.
- Wear natural fiber socks, such as cotton or wool, that don’t have elastics.