How Changes in Residual Limb Size Affect How Your Prosthesis Fits

Rob Casting John For A New Prosthetic Leg Socket

Getting a Prosthesis

Getting a prosthesis that looks and fits you correctly is a process that can take significant effort, technology, and time. There are anatomical considerations, as you have to make sure that the socket for the device is the appropriate dimension and size and can connect seamlessly with your residual limb. You may have to make several visits to your prosthetist for adjustments so that the alignment can be corrected, the prosthetic can be tightened or loosened, painful pressure areas can be relieved and to address any other issue that you may be experiencing with your new prosthetic. Multiple visits to physical therapy may also be required for training and to ensure that you can use the prosthetic as you should. Once your prosthesis is properly fitted, you will have a device that is unlike any other prosthesis and unique only to you. However, any subsequent changes in the size of your body can affect how efficient your prosthesis can be.

Watch this video of Rob Huddler casting John for a new socket.

john getting a prosthesis

Practitioner Rob Huddler assisting a patient

Changes in Body Size and Weight

Fluctuation in body weight and size throughout one’s life is natural. Changes in your body may also occur after surgery and can include the natural swelling and inflammation that occurs at the surgical site. While there are a wide range internal and external factors that can cause you to lose or gain weight, you should keep in mind that your prosthesis, specifically the socket portion of the device, is not able to alter itself to the extent that it can accommodate the changes in your body that come with significant weight loss or gain. This means that if you have a lower-limb prosthesis, you may not have the stability necessary to stand up or walk around. You may also not be able to safely or efficiently conduct day-to-day activities with an ill-fitted upper-limb prosthesis.

What to Do?

If significant changes in the size and weight of your body have resulted in a prosthesis that is no longer comfortable or safe to wear, you have to have it re-assessed for a proper fit. There is no benefit in using an ill-fitted prosthesis that does not allow you to function or move as you would with a prosthesis that fits you properly.

rob huddler and patient

After changes in his body, John is happy with his new prosthetic leg

Consult with your prosthetist. The adjustments that are necessary may be limited to an alteration of the socket or another part of the prosthetic. In some situations, a single component of the prosthetic may have to be replaced. However, if the difference in your weight is substantial enough, it may be necessary to have a brand new prosthesis created.

At Advantage Prosthetics & Orthotics, we are committed to helping you regain your independence and mobility. We understand that no two loss-of-limb situations are the same, and we will do what it takes to meet your specific prosthetic goals and needs. If your prosthetic no longer fits as well as it used to or you have some other concerns about your device, stop by our clinic and let us show you how we can help you.

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