It’s summertime. The weather is nice, and you are looking forward to spending a day in the sun beside the water, whether it’s a lake or a pool. You’re eager to swim. But before you do, there are some things you should consider.
In this article, Nate Kapa and Scott Baranek, Certified Prosthetists at Bremer Prosthetics, answer the question: Can you swim while wearing your prosthetic leg?
If you know that you want to be in the water this summer, make sure that you tell your prosthetist how important it is to your life.
There should be few barriers to getting in the water.
If you’ve never swam with your prosthesis before, make sure you take it slowly. Don’t jump into the deep end before you get a feel for the shallows. Double check with your prosthetist to be sure that swimming will be safe for you.
Historically, prosthetic legs were made from steel, which can be corroded by water. Thankfully, new advances in technology have made it possible for most prostheses to get wet.
Today's prostheses are made from metals that are water-resistant, such as titanium, stainless steel, and aluminum—and if you desire to swim, you can typically have a custom prosthesis built for it!
Follow These Three Steps To Have Successful Swimming Experience
If you know you want to be in the water, tell your prosthetist so they can build your custom prosthesis with swimming in mind. That way, your prosthesis will be better designed for you to be in the water, and you’ll know that it’s safe to get your prosthesis wet.
What If My Prosthesis Has Electrical Components?
Before swimming with a prosthesis that has electrical components, make sure to check with your prosthetist to make sure it’s water-resistant or waterproof.
Go enjoy the water! Go have fun.
If you’re new to swimming with your prosthesis, remember to start slow. Although at this point you’re very excited, don’t immediately fling yourself into the deep end of the pool (it’s understandable if you do, but please don’t).
Start in the shallows, and gradually wade out into the deeper water. Get a feel for what it’s like wearing your prosthesis while you’re swimming. As you get more used to it, it will increasingly become more and more enjoyable.
After swimming, make sure to remove your liner and your sock so they can air-dry overnight, and replace them with dry ones.
Saltwater and chlorine are both corrosive to your prosthesis, so after taking a dip in the ocean, or a saltwater or chlorine pool, thoroughly rinse your prosthesis once you're finished to help prevent corrosion.
What If I Don’t Want to Swim While I’m Wearing My Prosthesis?
Then take your leg off before you get in the water! If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of swimming with your prosthesis, or if you don’t even like the thought of wearing your prosthesis while swimming, there is another option for you:
You can swim and be in the water without your prosthesis. It’s as simple as that.
The most important tool your prosthetist can give you is knowledge about what you can and can’t do with your prosthesis. One of the best ways to access this tool is to ask your prosthetist any questions that you think are important. This includes questions about swimming.
We want to give you the opportunity to live your life without limitations. If you have any questions about this article, feel free to reach out to us. We're happy to expand on what we explained and give some more information.
You can reach us at (855) 977-1300.
Here's a more in-depth answer to the broader question, Can I Get My Prosthesis Wet?