Tips on Liners – Usage and Care
Is it possible to be allergic to the gel in my liner?
There are no confirmed report s of allergic reactions to silicone gel. Testing by an independent laboratory regarding the bio-compatibility of the gel yielded negative results for lysis (the dissolution of cells), toxicity, skin irritation, and delayed skin sensitivity with repeated exposure. Given these results, it is possible by highly unlikely for you to have an allergic reaction.
To help rule out any suspicions, place small pieces of clean, unused silicone gel (ask your prosthetist for this) somewhere on your body other than your residual limb. If possible, leave the small pieces in place without removing them for 3-4 days. After 3-4 days of having the gel piece on your skin, examine the skin to see if any changes have occurred on your skin. Should this area develop a rash, talk to your prosthetist or an allergist. If no rash exists, you aren’t allergic! However, there could be several other reasons why you may think you are having an reaction in the form of a rash.
Please read (or review) the following carefully:
1. Wash your liner - Silicone liners need to be washed DAILY! Neglecting to regularly clean your liner may cause a rash to occur on the residual limb. This is usually caused by a build-up of bacteria that are normally on the skin. Have you started using a different soap recently for cleaning the liner? Sometimes a change of soap can trigger a skin reaction.
2. Itching & Scratching – When the skin is itchy for any reason, scratching usually follows! The conclusion may be that this is an allergic reaction, which it is not! Usually when air hits the skin’s surface that has been sweating or has become wet, the skin becomes ‘itchy’. Don’t scratch! Wash or Rinse instead!
3. Insufficient Rinsing and Incorrect Drying of the Liners – We recommend that you use the same soap in the shower or both for the daily cleaning of your liner. Be sure that the liners are thoroughly rinsed! Soap residue from insufficient rinsing may cause an irritation to develop.
Some brands of highly detergent soaps or soaps with strong perfumes can also cause irritation. If this turns out to be the cause then a mild face soap free of perfumes may alleviate the problem. PH Balanced products are the best.
Dry your liner with a clean, lint-free cloth, place your liner with the fabric side out. Drying the liner gel side out can damage the liner and can allow dirt and particles to stick to the gel, which can lead to skin irritation once donned again.
4. Disinfect your Silicone Liner – DO not neglect the disinfection of your liner! Disinfecting is done by simply wiping the gel lightly with alcohol. Refer to the protocol issued by the manufacturer for the specific liner you have. For example, you may only need to disinfect the inner once a week – doing this more often may dry out the gel. If a rash begins after 2-3 months of using your liner, the lack of disinfecting the liner can cause a rash which could be mistaken for an allergic reaction. It is important to differentiate between the two.
5. Using Antibacterial soaps - using an antibacterial soap instead of alcohol is not an effective means of disinfection. For some amputees who wear silicone liners using antibacterial soap for their daily cleaning may have actually contributed to a rash on their residual limbs.
6. Trapped Air Between the Liner and the Skin - If an amputee liner is not properly sized, air can get in and become trapped between the skin and the liner. This can result in excessive sweating. A rash may break out because the sweat is held against the skin for a period of time. If your limb is sweating significantly, remove the liner and wash or rinse the sweat off the liner and limb, pay dry with a clean, lint-free cloth and don the liner again. Tell your prosthetist of excessive sweating and any fit concerns. If your residual limb size has changed either up or down, a new size of liner may be indicated.
7. Sweating – Excessive perspiration is normal. Especially if you are brand new to a liner system. Sweating causes salts and the resulting salt crystals to form and deposit on your skin. When the liner is removed, the skin can feel itchy. Again, this is normal, but try to resist the temptation to scratch! Washing your residual limb immediately will remedy this. Pat dry! Next wash and dry your liner removing any residual salts clinging to the silicone.
To control sweating, try using an “alum” product (IE: Crystalux) that we carry. By preventing the sweating or by cutting down significantly on the amount of sweating, your residual limb will have greater optimum health and improved overall comfort. Using this natural crystal antiperspirant will help with salt issue. This will help reduce rotation in the socket, making it more comfortable and stable.