A Manual for Above-Knee Amputees

The Socket

The socket is the basis for the connection between the user and the prosthesis. It always provides the means for transferring the weight of the amputee to the ground by way of the rest of the prosthesis.

The shape of the socket is critical to comfort and function. The socket must not restrict circulation, yet it cannot be loose. Most sockets for above-knee prostheses cover the entire stump. There are several designs available to take maximum advantage of the muscles in the stump of the individual amputee for control of the prosthesis and for transferring the weight of the amputee to the floor.

Most sockets are made of a rigid plastic, but some amputees prefer a flexible socket supported by a rigid frame because comfort during walking and sitting seems to be improved.

For most patients, the prosthesis can be held in place by "suction", or a vacuum, provided by a close fit between stump and socket. This is known as a suction socket. Nothing is worn between the stump and socket. when circulation is marginal or precarious, a looser fit is provided, a woolen sock is worn over the stump, and the socket is held in place by a "Silesian Bandage".

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Copyright 1996 - Alvin L. Muilenburg and A. Bennett Wilson, jr.

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