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Discharge Instructions: Wrapping Your Stump—Below the Knee

Wrapping your stump keeps the limb from swelling and shapes it so that it fits more comfortably in a prosthesis. You’ll probably need to keep your limb wrapped (or keep it in a “shrinker sock”) at all times—except when you bathe or wear a prosthesis. If it’s hard for you to wrap the limb yourself, have someone wrap it for you. You may want to wrap it before you put on your underclothes.

Overhead view of amputated leg on leg board showing six steps of wrapping stump in bandage.

General Guidelines

  • Use one or two clean 4-inch elastic bandages each day. You may want to sew them together end to end.

  • Sit on the edge of a firm bed or chair. As you wrap, keep your knee extended on a stump board or chair of the same height.

  • Always wrap in a diagonal direction. Wrapping straight across the limb can cut off the blood supply.

  • Keep the tension greatest at the end of the limb. Gradually reduce the tension as you work up the lower leg.

  • Make sure there are at least 2 layers of bandage and that no layer directly overlaps another. Keep the bandage free of wrinkles and creases.

  • Be sure there is no puckering or bulging of the skin. Check to make sure that all the skin below the knee is covered. Don’t cover the kneecap.

  • Rewrap the limb every 4-6 hours, or whenever the bandage starts to slip or feel loose.

  • Tingling or throbbing anywhere in the limb may be a sign that the tension is too tight. Rewrap the bandage, using less tension.

Step 1

  • Hold the bandage in one hand with the roll facing up and toward you.

  • With the other hand, hold the end of the bandage against the front of the limb, just below the knee.

  • Slowly unroll the bandage diagonally down the front of the lower leg to the inside corner of the limb.

Step 2

  • Wrap the bandage over the inside corner of the limb. Give it a slight tug so that it stays firmly against the skin.

  • Bring the bandage around the back of the limb to the outside of the lower leg.

  • Wrap diagonally up the lower leg toward the knee. Cross over the end of the bandage to hold it in place.

Step 3

  • Go around the back of the lower leg and bring the bandage to the front on the outside, just below the knee.

  • Wrap diagonally down the front of the lower leg to the inside of the limb.

Step 4

  • Bring the bandage around the back of the limb and forward over the outside corner. Give the bandage another gentle tug to keep it firmly against the skin.

  • Wrap diagonally up the front of the lower leg.

Step 5

  • Go around to the back of the limb and come to the front again below the knee.

  • Wrap diagonally down the front of the lower leg toward the inside corner of the limb.

  • Repeat steps 2 through 4 until all the skin below the knee is totally covered.

Step 6

  • To keep the bandage from slipping, bring it up one side of the knee, around the back of the thigh, and down the other side of the knee.

  • Then wrap diagonally down and around the lower leg to the end of the bandage.

  • Attach the end of the bandage to the layer below it with paper tape. Avoid using safety pins or clips.

Follow-Up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Redness at the end of the stump that does not go away

  • Swelling or increasing pain at the end of the stump

  • More than usual bleeding or discharge from the stump

  • Stump that has a chalky white or blackish color

 

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