What to expect during the fitting process

Prosthetics 411
In developing educational materials for lower limb prosthesis users, we’ve saved some of the most helpful information we’ve received from our bloggers, prosthetists and others so that we can put it here on the Momentum blog. This post should not be considered as a substitute for medical, legal or financial advice from a qualified professional. Our hope is that the information that follows helps you on your journey to live a life in motion.


Prosthetic fitting typically involves several appointments with your prosthetist. During the initial evaluation, your prosthetist will assess your physical well-being and talk with you about your activities, goals, and expectations. This will help your prosthetist determine which prosthetic components will work the best for you.

Your prosthetist will then measure and make a plaster cast of your residual limb. Some prosthetists will use laser-scanning tools to take measurements and create a 3D rendering of your residual limb.

Your prosthetist will use the plaster cast or 3D rendering to create a test socket. The test socket is usually made of clear plastic so your prosthetist can see where the socket meets the skin and modify areas that need less or more contact. You will be asked to provide your feedback about fit and comfort. The proper fit of the socket is extremely important. Just like a shoe, if it doesn’t fit well, you won’t be able to walk correctly.

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The other components of your prosthesis will then be attached to your socket so you can begin standing and walking. Your prosthetist will make adjustments to your socket and the alignment of the components based on your feedback and his or her observations. Having a properly aligned prosthesis can determine whether you walk correctly, efficiently, and comfortably.

It might take several trial fittings before your socket and alignment are just right. New amputees may have to wear a test prosthesis for several months while the residual limb continues to reduce in size. For those who have worn a prosthesis before, this process is usually much shorter, ranging from several days to several weeks. Once your socket fit and prosthetic alignment are perfected, your prosthetist will create your final, or definitive prosthetic socket from your test socket.

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