When we think of the latest and greatest prosthetic limbs, our minds often automatically focus on computerized knees, feet, and hands. In reality, the newest and greatest developments actually revolve around the way the prosthesis fits. The most advanced components are only useful if the prosthesis fits properly and comfortably.

The prosthetic socket is the portion of the prosthesis that the residual limb fits into. It is custom made, based on an actual mold of the residual limb. Creating a well-fitting socket is a meticulous science, where the prosthetist ensures each area of the limb experiences the appropriate level of compression and relief. When a prosthetic user’s limb changes, that intimate fit can be compromised.
Some common symptoms of a poorly fitting socket may include:

  • Not being able to fit the limb completely inside the socket, leaving a gap at the bottom
  • Feeling like the limb is moving inside the socket, causing instability
  • Feeling like the limb is slipping in and out of the socket (pistoning)
  • Feeling pressure at the bottom of the limb, due to ‘bottoming out’
  • Bruising at the end of the limb or knee cap
  • Due to not fitting all the way into the socket, the prosthesis feels too tall
  • Due to volume loss in the residual limb, it fits further inside the socket and the prosthesis feels too short

Socket adjustments, padding, and sock ply (thickness) management are ways to compensate for gradual changes in the residual limb. Significant changes in the residual limb, however, will require a replacement socket. At this point, the prosthetist would recommend a new socket created from a new mold of the residual limb.

If you have questions about socket fit, contact a prosthetist who can guide you through the process of achieving a socket fit that meets your needs.

School’s Out

School’s Out

Posted on: 4/29/2020

In these interviews, Staci Dorr, PT, CO discusses the importance of kids wearing their devices while at home during school breaks.

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Prosthetic TLC

Prosthetic TLC

Posted on: 4/20/2020

Jennifer shows how she cleans her prosthetic socket and foot shell, making sure it stays in tip top shape.

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Your Socket Fit

Posted on: 4/15/2020

A prosthesis that is not fitting well can cause skin breakdown, instability, and a lack of confidence.

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We’re Here for You

We’re Here for You

Posted on: 3/17/2020

Our clinics remain open as we closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19). The wellbeing of our patients and staff is our priority.

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Silicone Feet & Hands

Posted on: 1/29/2020

Surprisingly, not many people realize that custom silicone is an option after partial hand or foot amputation.

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3D Print Innovations

3D Print Innovations

Posted on: 1/29/2020

3D printing has become more common in orthotics and prosthetics.

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