It’s expected that anyone who undergoes an amputation will experience pain after the procedure. However, some people experience pain in their residual limb even after they have healed. Here are five reasons why this may be happening to you:
1) Pre-existing condition
Health conditions such as diabetes or poor circulation that led to your amputation can still be an issue even after the limb is removed. Make sure that you are following the health guidelines set forth by your doctor to manage symptoms.
2) Bone Spur
Sometimes, extra bone material can form abnormally at the end of your residual limb. This bone spur or heterotropic bone can cause your prosthesis to not fit properly, and thus cause pain.
3) Poor tissue coverage
It’s normal to have pain after your surgery. However, if the bone at the end of your residual limb hasn’t been trimmed properly, this can cause you to experience pain while wearing your prosthesis. Try wearing extra padding at the end of your limb. If that doesn’t work, additional surgery may be required.
The nerves at the end of your residual limb form a bundle under your skin known as a neuroma. This collection of nerve endings can be very sensitive, and if they press up against the prosthesis, it can lead to serious pain. There are a number of ways to decrease it, including medication, massage, ultrasound and more. Your doctor should be able to come up with a plan to address it.
5) Nerves caught in scar tissue
This can happen as you start to heal from amputation. Wrapping your residual limb with elastic can help prevent this from happening. When your incision is at a certain healing point, you should also start massaging it to keep the nerves from being caught in scar tissue.
Besides the tips listed above, there are a number of other things you can do to prevent your residual limb from hurting. Follow the exercises your physical therapist gives you, practice desensitizing methods and work on relaxation. If pain still persists, set up an appointment with your doctor to find a treatment that works with you.