About Me

My photo
I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ready for Winter?? Get Your Stump Warmers Out...

It is starting to get cold. I've changed the comforter on the bed, put on the electric mattress pad and pulled the extra blankets out of the closet. I absolutely hate being cold especially when I'm trying to sleep.

Our electric mattress pad has a "zone" feature. More coils are concentrated towards the bottom of the bed, providing increased heat to the feat. Unfortunately, I have only one foot to benefit from his feature. My stump falls smack dab in the center of the pad, which provides minimal warming.

I have a problem keeping my stump warm at night. It doesn't become cool; it becomes downright icy cold to touch and becomes painful. When my residual limb is cold, I am absolutely miserable.

I have tried everything to keep my stump warm at night. I have even wrapped my limb in an electric heating pad. I would not recommend this course of action. In addition to becoming wrapped in the cord when I move, the circulation in my limb has been negatively impacted. I don't have the same temperature receptors, and I worry about burning my limb.

So, always searching for a solution, I kept trying various "warming" methods. A dear friend of mine knitted me socks for my limb. The "stump socks" were soft and warm and slightly over-sized. The sock worked well if I were watching television or on the computer, but immediately rolled off my limb when I began to move in my sleep.

I discovered that my husband's tube socks were the perfect fit for my residual limb. The socks are slightly smaller in size and provide some soothing compression in addition to warmth. Because the socks are longer in length, I can pull them over my knee if necessary and they stay in place during the night.

On extremely cold nights, or when my stump is particularly cold, I resort to hand warmers. One word of caution: It is imperative that a physical barrier exist between the warmer and the residual limb. The hand warmers can get hot, and burns can occur before the amputee can sense the extreme heat.

I pull on one of Scott's tube socks, put the hand warmer in the bottom of a second sock, and pull it over my stump. The hand warmer heats quickly, and provides a large area of warmth. Hand warmers can be expensive (upwards of $1 each) but I found that you can purchase them in bulk for a reduced price. I am still working through the two cases I bought off of Ebay a few years ago.

I use a seal-in liner. Because of the socket design, there is a small air space between my liner covered stump and the prosthetic. When it is cold outside, or I know that I am going to be involved in a cold weather activity (I have a little guy who loves playing in the snow and sledding) I will put a hand warmer in the bottom of my socket. My stump stays nice and warm while outside, and I am able to avoid that horrible cold cramping which results from a cold residual limb.

I feel the effects of my amputation more during the winter. Limiting my activities is not a viable option. After all, I have a little boy who is eagerly anticipating his first snowball fight of the season. The hand warmers and a pair of Scott's tube socks are already on my night stand. I know I'll be warm and comfy as I sip my hot cocoa, watching the snow fall. Bring on the cold!


  1. My dad had a BK amputation in September and I made him some rice packs but wanted to make him something he could slip over his shrinker to help keep it warm. I'm almost done making him a sock monkey stump warmer. I had to cut several socks to do it but it looks great so far!

  2. Hi
    I am a below the knee amputee I know exactly where you are coming from with the cold but 2 years ago I bought from aldi a heated throw it's soft and warm it has controls so you can have it as warm as you want and on a timer it's the best thing I ever bought .
    This year aldi have them in again so I have bought my self another one and also bought my mum one as she suffered with the cold this is my first year as a amputee but had lots of health problems for may year
    These heated throws are also sold on amazon give one a try they are great for us disabled people