Amputee Care Solution for Phantom Pain and Stump Sweating

November 28, 2020

In 2005, there were approximately 1.6 million amputees in the United States, and this number is projected to double by 2050. Improving the quality of life of amputees is a significant concern and will continue to be so over the next several years. 


The current standard of care for amputees is a prosthesis that attaches to the residual limb by a socket. Unfortunately, three-quarters of amputees have complications related to the socket fit, including:


  • Ulcers
  • Sweating
  • Decrease in limb volume
  • Phantom pain and sensation
  • Blisters
  • Skin irritation 

Vive Wear prosthetic shrinker addresses many of these concerns leading to a more comfortable fit and overall better solution for amputees, specifically when it comes to phantom pain and stump swelling. Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues that amputees face and how Vive Wear can help.  


What is Phantom Pain in the Leg? 


One of the most discussed issues after an amputation is phantom pain or phantom sensation. Over 80% of amputees report amputation-related pain or phantom pain in the leg that is often described as burning, electrical pain, or cramping. These patients also report a phantom sensation that the removed extremity is still in place. Of course, phantom pain and phantom sensation can lead to a host of issues and can dramatically impact the quality of life that patients experience. Vive Wear prosthetic shrinker gives people a solution they are searching for. 


Causes of Phantom Pain and Phantom Sensation


Before we discuss the benefits of Vive Wear prosthetic shrinker, let’s first take a look at understanding why phantom pain and sensation occurs in the first place. It can be challenging for amputees to grasp why phantom pain or phantom sensation can still occur in an area that no longer has a limb. Understanding more about why it happens can offer a bit of peace of mind and a sense of relief for people who simply want to know what is happening in their bodies. 


Both phantom pain and phantom sensation are due to the nerves in the amputated extremity essentially shorting out and sending signals to the brain. The nerves are the wires of the human body and provide both sensory and motor function. 


The nerves send sensation signals to the brain, and the brain sends motor signals to muscles. These nerves are cut during amputation surgery, and the nerves are still sending signals back and forth to the brain. Therefore, patients can still feel where the extremity is and can still feel like it’s moving. 


Eventually, the brain is able to quiet down these nerves, so the phantom sensation and phantom pain resolve. In the immediate postoperative period, the nerves are essentially shorting out, and the phantom pain can be quite severe. In the meantime, as the body adjusts itself, it’s important to have solutions that give some immediate relief. 


The Solution to Phantom Pain in the Leg


Early intervention is needed to minimize phantom pain and prevent it from progressively getting worse. One of the most significant contributors to phantom pain is swelling. As the residual limb swells, it decreases circulation to the limb, causing ischemic pain, and the increased pressure squeezes the nerves causing phantom pain.


Movement


Actively moving the leg will help decrease swelling by the muscles pumping the swelling up the leg. Your doctor will provide additional information about the appropriate movements that may help reduce swelling without causing further damage. 


Supplements


Supplements can also help to stabilize the nerves that are shorting out and causing phantom pain. Your doctor may prescribe nerve stabilizing medicines such as gabapentin. Over the counter supplements that will help stabilize the nerves include multiple B vitamins and electrolyte replacement such as coconut water.


Vive Wear Prosthetic Shrinker 


To minimize pain from swelling after surgery, your doctor may use a negative pressure dressing to push the swelling up the leg. After the surgical dressing is removed, a prosthetic compression shrinker should be used to further decrease swelling. 


Vive Wear has created a patented prosthetic shrinker that offers a variety of benefits that other options simply don’t have. The core benefits include:


  • Generates an electrical current
  • Wicks away moisture
  • Provides comfort with merino and alpaca wool
  • Provides graduated compression

These properties combine to facilitate wound healing.



Stump Sweating: Causes and Effects 


In addition to phantom pain and sensation, stump sweating is another leading concern for many amputees. In fact, prosthesis-related sweating affects up to 70% of amputees. 

Common reasons for stump sweating include:


  • Increased energy is required during certain movements, such as going upstairs or up a slope. The increased energy causes heat, and the body naturally tries to cool itself off by sweating. 
  • The gel liner around the stump traps the leg’s sweat against the liner and prevents the natural evaporation process for cooling of the leg.

Unfortunately, stump sweating, no matter the cause, comes with a host of issues. Common concerns include: 


  • Prosthetic discomfort
  • Skin breakdown
  • Ulceration
  • Odor
  • Blisters
  • Infections
  • Slipping of gel liner 
  • Rash
  • Decrease in the quality of life

What is the Solution to Stump Sweating? 


Vive Wear patented prosthetic shrinker addresses many of the concerns that amputees face with stump sweating. Advantages of the Vive Wear patented stump shrinker include:


  • Absorbs moisture
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Generates microcurrent

These properties help the body resolve the rash, blisters, and odor caused by sweating in the gel liner. 


Vive Wear Prosthetic Shrinker Case Study 

A case series clinical study of over 100 patients with below-knee amputations showed that amputees that used negative pressure dressing and the Vive Wear prosthetic shrinker could be fit for a prosthesis in less time and had fewer wound healing complications. Some of the patients noted that they had less phantom pain symptoms while wearing the Vive Wear prosthetic shrinker.

Tips for Proper Wearing of Vive Wear Prosthetic Shrinker 

When wearing a Vive Wear stump sock under the gel liner, ensure four finger breadths of gel liner above the sock to have a secure fit of the liner. This usually means folding down the Vive Wear sock liner over the knee cap, so the gel has good contact with the thigh. Consult your certified prosthetist if you have any questions about your prosthetic fitting.

Learn More about Vive Wear Prosthetic Shrinker

Quality of life is essential for amputee patients. If you or someone you know struggles with some of the common concerns associated with a prosthetic, please reach out to us. At Vive Wear, we understand that comfort and proper fitting make all of the difference for our valued customers. Contact us today to learn how our products can work for you! 


What size compression sock is right for me?

Vive Wear Sizing Chart

Choose a sock size that will safely fit the largest foot, ankle and calf measurement.

CALF CIRCUMFERENCE
Measure at the widest part of the calf.

ANKLE CIRCUMFERENCE
Measure at the smallest part of the ankle just above the ankle bones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vive Wear®Compression Sock Size Chart

SIZE   S M L XL XXL
Calf Circumference Inches 10.5-13.0 13.0-15.0 14.0-15.5 15.0-18.0 17.5-21.5
  CM 27.0-32.0 33.0-38.0 36.0-40.0 38.0-46.0 45.0-55.0
Ankle Circumference Inches 7.5 - 8.5 8.0-10.0 9.0-11.0 10.0-12.5 11.5-14.0
  CM 19.0-22.0 21.0-25.0 23.0-28.0 26.0-32.0 30.0-36.0
Shoe Size  Inches 3.0 - 5.0 6.0 - 8.0 8.0-11.0 11.0-13.0 13.0-15.0

 

How to choose Prosthetic Shrinker sizing?

Choose a prosthetic shrinker size that will safely fit the calf and thigh circumference.

THIGH CIRCUMFERENCE
Measure 4 finger widths above the patella (knee cap)

CALF CIRCUMFERENCE
Measure at the widest part of the calf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vive Wear® below knee

Prosthetic Shrinker Size Chart

Compression 20-30 mmHg / Length 15-15 3/4” 38-40 cm

SIZE   IV / XL V / XXL VI / 3XL
Thigh Inches 15.75-17.75 17.75-19.5 19.5-22
  CM 40-45 45-50 50-56
Calf Inches 13.75-15.75 15.75-17.75 17.75-19.25
  CM 35-40 40-45 45-49