With summer approaching I am having my usual problems with sweating, liner sloping, and being so hot from the leg.  Is there anything that can help with this? A.B. – Newport News

Greg Michalov CP, COA

Ah summer, the blue skies, lofty clouds and gentle breezes are often followed by rising temperatures, high humidity levels and excessive sweating.

For the prosthetic user perspiration as it relates to prosthetic use has been an age old problem that has a number of different remedies people have tried with varying levels of success.  It never fails that at the weather heats up in the summer months so does ones limb in their prosthesis.  Levels of activity raising body temperature combined environmental factors requires individualized measures to control perspiration.  Years ago, before the advent of roll on gel liners, the use of wool socks was a norm and as one perspired into the socks changing to a dry one was an easy fix.  The advent of synthetic textiles has improved sock performance by wicking the perspiration away from the body where it can be evaporated.  Excessive perspiration inside a liner can cause a suspension concerns as the liquid accumulated can act as a lubricant causing the liner to slip.  If not properly monitored one could slide out of the liner all together so it is important to realize what is occurring, stop what you’re doing and dry your limb and liner.   As the prosthetic industry tries to find ways to control moisture here are some solutions that some report useful.

There are a number of antiperspirants on the market users have tried with Xerac, Derma Prevent and Certain Dri standing out amongst the available choices.  These are typically a roll on liquid base that needs to be applied after bathing on a dry limb allowing the liquid to fully dry before putting the prosthesis on.   It is advisable to consult with a dermatologist to achieve the best results and to manage skin concerns as they arise.

Aside from a chemical approach users of roll on gel liners have had success using a thin interface such as a sheath or a “liner liner” sock between their skin and the gel material.  With the sheath or sock pulled above the top of the liner the perspiration is able to evaporate via the exposed material as it occurs.  I would consult with your prosthetist to explore this concept and to ensure the prosthetic suspension is not compromised.

More recently a gel material called the Alpha SmartTemp Liner has been developed by the Willow Wood Company that claims to absorb heat delaying the onset of perspiration.  Another liner concept known as the Silcare Breathe Liner, from the Endolite Company, is a liner that has perforations in the gel material intended to allow moisture to escape.

While no one management technique works universally, some may find applying the above techniques helpful.  That said, reaching out to your prosthetist, physician or a dermatologist might provide you some relief sooner than later.

Greg Michalov CP, COA