Prosthetic care is important during the colder months of the year, as poor care can lead to discomfort and other health concerns. However, not everyone is aware of the risks winter weather brings along. Learn more about protecting your prosthetic, and yourself, when it's cold outside.

Slips and Falls

During the winter, it's not uncommon for snow or ice to cover the ground. As a result, walking safely outside can be a struggle. If you are new to wearing a prosthetic, keeping your balance can be a struggle, even when the ground is clear. To prevent a slip or fall, install cleats on the bottom of your shoes to improve your traction. 

A prosthetic doesn't provide the same sensation as a natural limb, in that it can be hard to gauge just how slippery a surface is. As a result, you might not immediately notice just how unstable the ground is until you fall. A hard fall can damage the prosthetic, but it can also lead to broken limbs and other injuries. 

The cleats add a layer of safety, as they add grip to keep you more stable as you walk. If you can't install cleats, make sure you wear shoes with rubber soles. However, if you live in an area that experiences harsh winters, it's good to invest in a pair of winter boots.

Skin Irritation

Lower temperatures and less moisture in the air can lead to dry skin. Dry skin is especially irritating, and in some instances, it can be very painful. When you wear prosthetics, the problem typically gets worse. Particularly if the amputation was recent or the prosthetic needs to be refitted, it's not unheard of for the prosthetic to rub. 

The rubbing motion can further dry the skin and cause irritation. Between the cold weather and the friction, it can make wearing the device painful. Investing in a quality moisturizer and applying it regularly is important. Speak with your healthcare provider if the skin is cracked to see if there is a more effective skin treatment option. 

Cracked skin can cause excruciating pain, but it can also increase your risk of developing an infection around the amputation. Additionally, if you notice that the prosthetic is rubbing, you should visit your healthcare provider. A well-fitting prosthetic should not move, so it might be time for a refitting. 

For further help with prosthetic care, make certain you speak with your orthopedic healthcare professional for assistance. Contact a company like Bio  Tech Prosthetics and Orthotics to learn more.