Existing prosthetic technologies’ adjustable sockets and locking pin tethers can be used in novel ways to help maintain residual limb fluid volume in active prosthesis users with transtibial amputations.

Researchers examined if either of two accommodation strategies executed during resting—socket release with full socket size return and socket release with partial socket size return—enhanced limb fluid volume retention during subsequent activity.

Two repeated-measures experiments were conducted to assess the effects of socket release on limb fluid volume retention. Limb fluid volume was monitored while participants wore a socket with a single adjustable panel. Participants performed eight activity cycles, each including ten?minutes of sitting and two?minutes of walking. The socket’s posterior panel and pin lock were released during the fifth cycle while participants were sitting. In one experiment (full return), the socket was returned to its pre-release size; in a second experiment (partial return), it was returned to 102 percent of its pre-release size. Short-term and long-term limb fluid volume retention were calculated and compared to a projected, no intervention condition.

Partial return and full return short-term retentions and partial return long-term retention were greater than those projected under the control condition, the study found. As a result, socket release during resting after activity, particularly when the socket is returned to a slightly larger size, may be an effective accommodation strategy to reduce fluid volume loss in transtibial prosthesis users.

The study was published online January 10 in the journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics International.