Optimal Fitting of Prosthetic Limbs: Evaluation of Prosthetic Socket Quality and Soft-Tissue Response

Principal Investigator: Joan Sanders

The process of fitting prosthetic limbs to amputees can be a long process of trial and error. Two common obstacles to the optimal fitting of prosthetic limbs are improperly tooled prosthetic sockets and sensitive limb soft-tissue that inflames with repetitive mechanical stress. Much time and money are spent redesigning and retooling poorly fitting prosthetics.

Professor Sanders at the University of Washington has developed both a device that performs detailed surface measurements of the socket on the prosthetic limb and compares them to the shape data for the residual limb and a modeling technique to correct for shape distortion. This allows for immediate feedback on socket shape viability and necessary alterations can be made as early as possible. A second device characterizes the skin in a region of interest to map which areas might be more sensitive to repetitive stress and which are more tolerant. By measuring the skin’s thermal recovery time, sensitive areas of skin are identified and can inform the socket design process to reduce the need for subsequent redesign.

The optimal fitting of prosthetic limbs presents opportunities to improve the fitting and rehabilitation of patients with limb prosthetics. It has the potential to avoid unnecessary tissue damage and prosthetic fatigue and to reduce the duration and cost of rehabilitation. This technology may also prove beneficial in other areas where shape or skin response is important, such as with orthotics or wheelchairs.


For more info, contact: Lisa Norton

  • swap_vertical_circlelibrary_booksReferences (1)
    1. Sanders JE, Rogers EL, Sorenson EA, Lee GS, Abrahamson DC (2007), CAD/CAM transtibial prosthetic sockets from central fabrication facilities: how accurate are they?, Rehabilitation Research & Development, 44, 395 - 406
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