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Stump Swelling

by Erik Schaffer, CP

The stump tends to swell when the liner is not worn, as occurs during sleep. Consequently, people may have difficulty putting the prosthesis on after they wake up. Wearing a shrinker (an elastic sock used to control swelling) or an elastic bandage while sleeping can help prevent swelling overnight. The shrinker or bandage is removed before the prosthesis is put on.

In hot and humid weather, the stump may swell and sweat, making the prosthesis hard to put on. Showering immediately before putting the prosthesis on may help. For the last 2 minutes of the shower, people should hold the stump under cold water, and immediately after drying off, they should put the prosthesis on. After the prosthesis has been on for 5 to 10 minutes, they should quickly take it off and then put it on again. This strategy helps get the stump as far into the socket as possible. If a cold shower is not readily available, people can wrap the stump in an elastic bandage for 5 to 10 minutes, then try to put the prosthesis on.