Potential Problems with Prosthetic Sockets

May 1, 2020
April 8, 2022

A prosthetic socket is the contact point between your residual limb and the rest of the prosthesis. Therefore, your socket is the most important component of the prosthesis. It is designed to keep you comfortable as you wear your device. Although a well-made custom socket can help you regain mobility, there are still potential problems with prosthetic sockets that could arise.

At Horizon Orthotic & Prosthetic Experience, we believe that informing our patients is the best way to ensure they are satisfied with their prosthetic devices, and we pride ourselves on building high-quality custom sockets for all our patients.

Skin issues

The proper shape and size of your socket is crucial to reduce friction and skin irritation. An ill-fitting socket can lead to redness, blistering, and even ulcers if not taken care of. If you find yourself having skin problems from wearing your prosthesis, contact your prosthetist so that he or she can update the fit of your socket. The residual limb of an amputee tends to fluctuate in volume while the socket shape remains constant. The amputee must accommodate for limb volume fluctuations by adding or removing prosthetic socks. Sometimes adjusting the socks does not resolve the fit or comfort.  It is at this point that the prosthetist must get involved to see if the socket can be modified.

Improper balance

For lower-limb amputees, balance between your healthy limb and the prosthesis is key for optimal mobility. If you are having trouble balancing, it usually means there is an alignment issue. As time passes, your gait pattern (waling style) may go through changes. If this is the case, the prosthetist at HOPE can adjust the alignment to accommodate for these changes.  If the volume of your limb has changed significantly, you may need to get a new socket to maintain control over your prosthetic device.

Back pain

Walking using a prosthesis with an ill-fitting socket can cause long-term structural changes to your body, because it affects your gait. This can cause muscle pain and spinal injuries if you continue to use the same socket.

The socket doesn’t fit

There are a few reasons why your limb may no longer fit into the prosthesis, but either way, it’s one of the problems with prosthetic sockets that should be resolved right away. If the socket is too small, you may have excess swelling, so make sure you’re wearing your shrinker sock every night.

There also may be times when your residual limb grows or shrinks (not due to swelling), and for those cases you should talk with a prosthetist to see if you need to get a new socket.

HOPE KC can help avoid problems with prosthetic sockets

You’ll never have to worry about ill-fitting prosthetic sockets with Horizon Orthotic & Prosthetic Experience in Kansas City. We are an award-winning, local prosthetic and orthotic company that strives to give our patience HOPE every day. Since 2007, we’ve been building custom prosthetic sockets to reduce the amount of issues our patients see.

For more information about prosthetic sockets in Kansas City, contact us today.

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