We are constantly wowed by the ingenuity of the amputees in our community. Often in the comments of our Facebook posts or articles, practical wisdom and creative solutions are shared from one amputee to another.
In this post, we round up the top non-prosthetic products that make life easier or better for amputees. This advice comes straight from experienced amputees who have certainly overcome their fair share of adversity, yet continue to find ways to make life run smoothly.
Special thanks to Dorothy, Lenore, Deborah, Erin, Amber and Manuel for sharing their advice. If you have tips and tricks, please share them in the comments so others can learn!
- Neutrogena Body Oil: I have found Neutrogena Body Oil used on the skin at the top edge of the liner reduces redness. – Dorothy
- Cold-Pressed Organic Coconut Oil: I use cold-pressed organic coconut oil on my skin on the places that rub with the prosthetic. I also put it on my skin at night to heal my skin. Be sure to buy organic cruelty-free products. – Lenore
- Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil:I find that putting jojoba oil from Trader Joe’s on my limb before bed makes my skin very soft and clears up any irritations by morning. -Deborah
Amber (wearing Next Black) has an inner and outer strength that help her cope with her amputation.
- Silicone-based Lotions: This is totally going to sound weird, but silicone based lotions are amazing. I put this on my leg before I put my liner on every morning. Your skin doesn’t absorb it like it does with normal lotions, so your liner doesn’t end up rubbing and pinching you throughout the day. -Amber
- Tegaderm: I’ve gone through a million Tegaderm second skin bandages when I have blisters and breakdowns on my residual limb, not to mention so many of the fabric stretch band aids, it’s not even funny. -Deborah
Tools & Gadgets
- Wooden Test Tube Holder: I have an old wooden test tube holder on which I place the liner not in use. Really a rod on a base. This allows the air to circulate inside the whole liner after cleaning. -Dorothy
- Cool Crutches: These are huge! With an anatomical handgrip and big rubber caps for the floor contact, especially with slippery floors, and the arm cuff… I can lift my arm to get hold of anything and the crutches stay with me. This helps me lot: cooking, grabbing kids, moving things from one place to another. -Manuel
Manuel, UNYQ cofounder (wearing Rivet Silver) doesn’t let much slow him down!
- Handrails: We have placed handrails outside the house as every exit has two steps to go down. This is also of great use to visitors as we are all getting older. Really appreciate them being there. -Dorothy
- T Allen Wrench: They just make life so much easier, especially if you can do your own adjustments. I have not one but four! One in my purse, one in my gym back, one at home, and one in my jeep. -Amber
- Shoe Horns Galore: A sturdy shoe horn and a travel sized shoe horn. I keep small travel size shoe horns in every bag I own. My gym bag, swim bag, purse, suitcase, and one in the car. Can’t leave home without it or I have to use my car keys or whatever else I can find to get my shoe back on. -Deborah (and Erin)
Erin (wearing Herringbone Black) has a ton of great amputee advice and keeps life light.
- Bike Hex Wrench: I have a bike hex wrench that I use for alignment adjustments. I take it with me when camping or doing sports and it has saved me several times. -Deborah
- SideStix Crutches: I use them at night when I crutch to and from the shower. I also sometimes use going to and from the pool. These crutches have a “give” or spring to them, so my back and joints don’t feel as much pressure. Be sure to purchase the faux leather handcuffs that they offer. The leather ones are more expensive and obviously aren’t cruelty-free. -Lenore
- Plumber’s Tape: I discovered that putting a little bit of plumber tape on a plastic pin can stop it from squeaking (so very annoying). Powder also works, but not WD-40 or anything you might think would actually stop squeaking. Avoid oil based products. -Deborah
- Tricycles: My Pashley tricycle has given me miles of pleasure as I can go further and be completely independent. -Dorothy
Dorothy (wearing Vittra Silver) took cycling back up with her trusty tricycle.
- Thick Leggings: I buy thick leggings at TJ Maxx. They’re almost like sweatpants material. The thick material is harder for my leg to eat through and it’s pretty easy to stitch back up if the leg does decide to snack on them. -Erin
- Velcro: Velcro is your friend. I use it on the bottom of my foot to keep on any kind of dressy flats, sandals, flip flops, etc. NOTE: I put the sticky side on the bottom of my foot. If i put the other side on my foot, I tend to slide more on hardwood floors or things like that. -Amber
- Reinforcement Patches: Iron on reinforcement patches, placed on the inside of pants can help too. I use these on my jeans to stop my socket from rubbing away at the material. -Erin
- Sneakers / Shoes with laces: Depending on my outfits or daily obligations, sneakers and shoes with laces work better for me than flats or shoes with little support. Good sneakers, although often believed by some to be unattractive, make me feel confident and sturdy. As a female, I have felt pressure to wear cute shoes. Sneakers and shoes feel like a nemesis, but I’ve learned to embrace them, so I can walk better. After all, true beauty is your smile and confidence. -Lenore
Lenore (wearing Armour Black) has great animal friendly, environmental conscious advice for fellow amputees.
These are not so much products, but insightful tips.
- “Toe Nail” Painting: I always put a base coat or two on my fake toes and then paint whatever color polish I want. Without a base coat the toes get stained, but with the base coat it’s not as bad! I always apply a top coat too. Good quality nail polish will last FOREVER on the fake toes, so much that I often will pick a summer color and repaint my real toes all summer to match. For cleaning up the polish that misses the “Toenail” I use a Q-Tip dipped in nail polish remover. I use regular acetone nail polish remover because it’s best at removing the polish, but it can break down the foot shell material over time. -Erin
- Reduce or eliminate intake of dairy, salt, artificial sugar, meat: Many amputees do not realize the impact that one’s diet has on one’s socket fit and healing potential. When I became vegan in 2014, I noticed many health benefits. One such benefit included a more stable socket fit for a longer length of time. When I consumed milk and cheese before, I often felt inflamed. I felt similar when I consumed processed foods and sugars. Salt, too, made me feel bloated and I would have to wear a compression sock at night to combat the issue, which meant my limb’s skin wasn’t able to breathe as much. -Lenore
- And lastly, something money can’t buy: a smile. Dorothy reminds us how sometimes it’s the most simplest of things that do the trick. “I also find a smile diffuses the look of concern when I meet new people.”
Remember to share your practical tips and tricks in the comments!