A Shrinker or Removable Rigid Dressing (RRD) reduces swelling in your residual limb and protects your limb while it is healing. Individuals with a below-knee amputation normally receive an RRD and individuals with all other amputation levels normally receive a shrinker.
- Inspect your skin before putting on your shrinker. If you see red or irritated areas that do not disappear within 20 minutes, inform your doctor or prosthetist.
- An above-knee shrinker has a short side and long side. Place the short side on the inside of your thigh by the groin, and the long side along the outside of your hip. An above-elbow shrinker also has a short side and long side. The short side goes on the inside of your arm by the armpit.
- Pull the shrinker up as high as possible and check that skin is not rolled over or pinched by the inner edge of the shrinker.
- Check that the end of the shrinker is pulled tight over the end of the residual limb. The material at the end should not bunch or look loose. The shrinker must push fluid up and out of your limb, so it is especially important that the bottom fits snugly.
- Some shrinkers have a Velcro strap to hold them on to the body. The strap should be secured around the hips (for an above-knee shrinker) or around the chest (for an above-elbow shrinker) to prevent the shrinker from slipping down.
- Some shrinkers have no strap but have a wide band of grippy silicone instead. Be sure the silicone band lays flat on your skin to keep the shrinker from sliding down.
- If the shrinker feels too loose, remove it and put a 2-ply soft sock on the residual limb. You may continue to add socks as your limb continues to shrink. Once you are wearing all of your socks at once, contact your prosthetist or physician to see if you are ready for a smaller shrinker or are ready to be fit with a prosthesis.
- Wear the shrinker at all possible times, both day and night, to reduce swelling and improve residual limb healing.
- Remove the shrinker and inspect the limb at least two to three times per day as the limb heals. If you notice redness or irritation that does not go away within 20 minutes, let your doctor or prosthetist know.
- Wash the shrinker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Rigid Removable Dressing (RRD) Instructions:
- Inspect your skin before putting on your RRD. If you see red or irritated areas that do not disappear within 20 minutes, inform your doctor or prosthetist.
- Apply a single “soft sock” (the white stretchy socks that were given to you when the rigid dressing was made). Make sure there are no wrinkles and the sock is flat against your limb.
- Depending on your doctor’s orders, your cast may have been made with a below-knee shrinker or a brown piece of compressogrip stocking.
- Shrinker: Pull the shrinker over the white soft sock, ensuring that there are no wrinkles and the shrinker is flat against your limb.
- Compressogrip: Pull one end of the brown compressorgrip sock up above your kneecap, and leave some extra length hanging off of the end of your limb. Twist the free end of the compressogrip so that it covers the end of your limb and pull it up over the first layer. The second layer should end below your kneecap so that there are two layers of stocking below the knee and only one layer above the knee.
- Now place the rigid dressing (the hard cast shell) on to your limb. Make sure that the marking drawn on the front of the cast lines up with your kneecap – if not remove the cast and try again.
- If the cast slides on with some resistance, you have the correct number of socks. If the cast wobbles or is loose, remove the cast, add another white sock and slide the cast on again. Continue adding socks until the cast slides on with some resistance. Be careful not to add to many socks – your limb must touch the bottom of the cast and the front edge must come up to your kneecap.
- There is a piece of compressogrip attached to the RRD that will hold the cast on to your thigh. Pull the edge of this compressogrip onto your thigh.
- Wear the RRD at all possible times, both day and night, to reduce swelling, protect the limb, and prepare your limb for a prosthesis.
- Remove the RRD and inspect the limb at least two to three times per day as the limb heals. If you notice redness or irritation that does not go away within 20 minutes, let your doctor or prosthetist know.
- Wash socks according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your prosthesis. We are happy to be working with you! You may send us a secure message through the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Patient Portal online, or you may call the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at 312-238-1000 to schedule an appointment or ask for your prosthetist’s clinical voicemail box to leave a voicemail message. Our office hours are Monday through Friday 7:30am – 4pm.
This content is for informational purposes only and may not be comprehensive. Information contained does not imply an endorsement from Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, and does not replace the advice of a qualified healthcare professional. See here for further details. © Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). Henry B. Betts LIFE Center – (312) 238-5433 – https://www.sralab.org/lifecenter.