If you have poor blood flow, follow your doctor's instructions for diet and medicines. Your doctor may give you medicines for your pain.
You may eat your normal foods when you get home.
Do things that will help you get stronger and do your daily activities, such as bathing and cooking. You should try to do as much as possible on your own.
When you are sitting, keep your stump straight and level. You can put your stump on a padded board to keep it straight when you are sitting. You can also lie on your belly to make sure you leg is straight.
Try not to turn your stump in or out when you are lying in bed or sitting in a chair. You can use rolled up towels or blankets next to your legs to keep them in line with your body.
Do not cross your legs when you are sitting. It can stop the blood flow to your stump.
You may raise up the foot of your bed to keep your stump from swelling and to help ease pain. Do not place a pillow under your stump.
Wound and stump care
Keep your wound clean and dry unless your doctor or nurse tells you it is OK to get it wet. Clean the area around the wound gently with mild soap and water. Do not rub the incision. Allow water to flow gently over it. Do not take a bath or swim.
After your wound is healed, keep it open to the air unless a doctor or nurse tells you something different. After dressings have been removed, wash your stump daily with mild soap and water. Do not soak it. Dry it well.
Inspect your stump everyday. Use a mirror if it is hard for you to see all around it. Look for any red areas or dirt.
Wear your elastic bandage all the time. Rewrap it every 2 to 4 hours. Make sure there are no creases in it. Wear your stump protector whenever you are out of bed.
Ask your doctor or nurse for help with pain. Two things that may help are:
Tapping along the scar and in small circles along the stump, if that is not painful
Rubbing the scar and stump gently with linen or soft cotton
Lie on your stomach 3 or 4 times a day for about 20 minutes. This will stretch out your hip muscle. If you had a below-the-knee amputation, you may put a pillow behind your calf to help straighten your knee.
Practice transfers at home.
Go from your bed to a chair, your wheelchair, or the toilet.
Your stump looks redder or there are red streaks on your skin going up your leg
Your skin feels warmer to touch
There is swelling or bulging around the wound
There is new drainage or bleeding from the wound
There are new openings in the wound, or the skin around the wound is pulling away
Your temperature is above 101.5 °F more than once
Your skin around the stump or wound is dark or it is turning black
Your pain is worse and your pain medicines are not controlling it
Your wound has gotten larger
A foul smell is coming from the wound
Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense. VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management for Rehabilitation of Lower Limb Amputation. http://www.healthquality.va.gov/amputation/amp_sum_508.pdf. January 2008. Accessed July 1, 2014.
Toy PC. General Principles of Amputations. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 14.
Mihalko MJ. Amputations of the Lower Extremity. In: Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 16.
C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.