One problem I have come across since getting a prosthetic that has a vacuum suspension system is if you have any air gaps your pump constantly buzzes away trying to keep the pressure up. New sleeves are also ridiculously expensive, either at a cost to the NHS or to you if you get your prosthetics privately.
Sometimes this problem can be solved by just taking off your sleeve and rearranging it a bit when you put it back on. Most of the time though it will be because you have a tiny hole in your sleeve. This might be general wear and tear but probably where it’s got pinched if you have knelt down on it or knocked against something.
You can use a gator, which is a band of rubber that sits around the rim of your prosthetic giving you a little extra seal for the vacuum. I have found these work to a point but might not work if you have a decent size pin hole or a few of them.
I tried super glue, didn’t work. It was far too brittle and as soon as the rubber sleeve was stretched slightly it cracked and did nothing.
I tried duct tape; this did work a bit. It didn’t like sticking to the very strange rubber material of a sleeve but once it was between your sleeve and prosthetic it did kind of stop the leak. The glue on the tape was a nightmare though, it went all gloopy and stuck to everything, making it really difficult to get off.
I needed something that would be flexible enough to stretch with the rubber but would attach to it strongly enough to handle the battering they get. This is where bicycle puncture repair kits came in.
Using the patch from a bicycle repair kit and the rubber solution you get with it seems to be perfect.
Once you’ve found the hole, put enough rubber solution around and over it to cover the size of the patch and leave it to sit for about 5 minutes. Once the solution has started to go tacky, stick the patch down and put something on top of it to keep it in place. I tend to do mine in the evening and leave it to completely dry overnight.
Voila, it’s not a permanent fix but it will keep you going for way longer on that vacuum sleeve.