Skin Matters

The skin on your stump will get wet from sea water. Why? Well, your prosthesis will get wet in the cockpit of the kayak.  When you put it on, you will get wet. How much? If you can shake it off or wipe away most of it, not much. But now you are damp. Does this matter? That depends…

Maintenance and repair

If you’re just on a day trip you can probably live with it. After all, even a dry suit is rarely totally dry. Ask your friends. However, on a multi-day camping trip or “expedition” you will find that the smallest amount of salt water causes chafing -that old enemy of the amputee.

So what now? First, get out of the salty clothes and clean the skin. I use wet wipes (or alcohol wipes if the skin isn’t broken). You will have experience of what your own body prefers. Get the skin dry. Talc can work, or use a very soft brush. Then get into dry clothes and finally rinse the salt away from any areas that might chafe. Don’t delay it. By the third day you’ll wish you had looked after yourself better. By the way, this advice goes for feet too. If you use a silicone suspension liner, rinse thoroughly in fresh water. Have a clean, dry spare liner to wear in the evening around camp.

A brief note about changing before and after paddling.  Balancing on one leg trying to change with a towel around you doesn’t work well. Make or buy a really good robe. You’ll be the slowest to get ready to go on the water so give yourself a bit of extra time and arrive early.

I take a garden sprayer to rinse the prosthesis after paddling – getting the salt off all that expensive hardware is a priority! But just a bottle of water will do too.