The socket is where the stump of the amputated limb fits into place, thus turning the socket into the point of integration between the human tissue and the replacement prosthetic limb. In other words, the prosthetic socket allows the residual limb to connect to the other prothetic components like the elbow, hand, knee or foot (and vice versa) depending on level of amputation. Also known as an “interface,” a prosthetic socket provides a surface for weight-bearing, provides additional support while walking, and assists in the overall control of the other prosthetic components. If the socket is fitted poorly, it can lead to any number of complications, including incessant pain, sores, or even blisters on the residual limb.
Most prosthetic sockets are used in combination with an additional layer called a “prosthetic liner” or sleeve that provides supplementary cushioning and comfort, while also helping to provide a more appropriate fit. Liners are crafted to protect residual limbs from abrasion and breakdown. There are three primary categories of prosthetic liners to choose from: thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) liners, urethane liners, and silicone.
TPE liners are particularly noted for their softness and high levels of comfort, urethane liners famous for their durability, and silicone liners offer a sort-of in-between the two to provide an adequate balance of both softness and resilience. As you can see, there’s an option for everyone to help accommodate their unique lifestyles – and at MCOP, we’re always happy to guide our clients toward the perfect match for them.