Having a lower limb amputation can alter how you complete your daily routines and activities. One activity we get a lot of questions about is showering. Showering is going to be more challenging after your amputation however, we have some tips and tricks to help you adjust to your new routine! Ultimately the most important factor to consider while showering after your amputation is SAFETY. Staying safe in the shower will reduce your risk of falling and potentially getting a serious injury.
Why it is Important that I Sit Down While I Shower?
The best way to stay safe while showering and reduce your risk of falling is to shower sitting down. Even if you have your prosthesis we still recommend that you shower sitting! It is important that you sit because the bottom of your prosthetic foot is smooth and slippery. The water can also damage parts of your prosthesis over time causing it to rust and no longer be as stable. Luckily there is equipment available that allows you to sit in the shower without having to make any drastic changes to your bathroom.
What Equipment Can Help You Be Safer in the Bathroom?
We have created a list of some equipment that can help improve your safety in the bathroom and make the most out of your showering experience.
Caution: No shower chair or tub bench is untippable! To use the equipment recommended below you must have good sitting balance. If you are concerned about your sitting balance it is recommended that you consult with your physician, occupational, or physical therapist to make sure this equipment is appropriate for you.
A shower chair is great to use if you have a walk-in shower
There are many styles that you can choose from. Make sure that you purchase a shower chair that is appropriate for your weight and height
Follow the manufacturers' directions to ensure that the shower chair is put together and installed appropriately
Average Estimated Cost: $30-$75
Tub Transfer Bench
A tub transfer bench is great to use if you have a tub shower combo
There are also many styles of tub transfer bench and you can select the right one for you by making sure it is appropriate for your height and weight
Follow the manufacturers' directions to ensure that the tub transfer bench is put together and installed appropriately
Average Estimated Cost: $50-$100
Grab bars can be installed or placed in your bathroom to provide areas for you to grab onto to help you transfer onto your shower chair or tub transfer bench
It is recommended that a professional install grab bars to ensure that they are secure and placed correctly in your bathroom
Average Estimated Cost: $80-$250 *The cost can vary greatly depending on the materials used and how many grab bars are being installed
Mirror for Skin Checks
It is important that you continue to perform routine skin checks after your amputation as well as when you are wearing your prosthesis
While you are showering is a great time for skin checks because you will not have to worry about adjusting your clothing to check all areas of your leg
A mirror with a long handle can be used while you are showering to check all areas of your residual limb to check for areas of redness or for wounds
Average Estimated Cost: $15-$30
While a handheld showerhead does not necessarily improve your safety while showering it can allow for you to direct the water to all areas of your body while seated
A handheld showerhead can also help you clean your residual limb! There are more tips for cleaning your residual limb below
Average Estimated Cost: $30-$50 *This price can be higher if your shower requires professional installation of this style of showerhead
If you have decreased balance or you are concerned about leaning forward to clean your leg or residual limb a long-handled sponge can help you out!
A long-handled sponge can be used to reach the end of your residual limb or leg