Stump shrinkers are typically used to reduce or control swelling (edema) in the residual limb of new amputee patients. Stump shrinkers are designed to fit snugly and apply pressure to the soft tissues of the stump.
The shrinker can be applied over dressings as necessary. It is important that this pressure be greatest at the end and gradually lessens towards the thigh. If the stump shrinker is loose at the lower end then the tighter area higher can stall circulation and actually increase swelling (edema). Turn the stump shrinker inside out and stretch it open to contact the end of the stump. This should minimize any tension on the suture line.
Stretch the lower half of the shrinker firmly up the leg. Then let the material relax. This should ensure maximum compression at the end. The top half of the shrinker can now be pulled up into position. This should not be stretched as much as the lower half. The stump shrinker will tend to slide down and should be checked regularly. Amputees should be instructed whenever possible to make certain the shrinker is in proper position.
Stump shrinkers, like ace wraps, should apply even pressure that gradually lessens at the top. Most amputations are the result of poor or otherwise compromised circulation. In some cases, even light pressure can cause skin breakdown especially over thinly padded bony prominences, such as your knee cap or cut end of the tibia. If redness or other signs of excessive pressure are noticed, discontinue use and contact your physician or prosthetist immediately.
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