Prosthetic socket fit and alignment

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.

Your socket connects your residual limb and your prosthesis. As you move, the impact centers on the socket, so a good, close fit will distribute and minimize the impact on your residual limb. Your prosthetist will work with you to custom make a socket to fit the shape of your residual limb. The shape of your socket and the materials that your prosthetist uses depend on your physical situation and how you live your life. Plastic and carbon fiber are the most common materials used today.

The benefits of good socket fit include greater comfort, improved skin health, and good control of the function of your prosthesis.

Alignment in a prosthesis refers to how the parts fit together in relation to each other. It is not a simple vertical line. Alignment of the prosthesis is based on several factors:

  • Type of components and how they work.
  • Length of residual limb and level of amputation.
  • Posture and body size.
  • Ability to control the prosthesis.

Your prosthetist bases alignment on your feedback and his or her clinical knowledge. The benefits of good alignment include better control, more stability, greater comfort, and improved function.

Keep in mind that the volume, or size, of your residual limb changes throughout the day, and this will affect your socket fit. Talk to your prosthetist about socks, suspension options, and other ways to manage these changes.

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