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What Every Provider and Patient should know about Prosthetic Socks

Do you ever notice that your rings are looser in the evening than first thing in the morning, or that your socks dig into your skin when you put them on, but you have to tug them up in the afternoon? Our bodies change in volume throughout the day depending on the foods we eat, the temperature outside, hormones, or a variety of individual factors. Prosthetists are amazing at fitting prosthetic limbs on residual limbs. Unfortunately, that flawlessly fitting prosthesis may be too loose, or too tight, when worn even hours after a perfect fit secondary to limb volume changes. Fortunately, there is a solution to this common problem. SOCKS! These prosthetic socks are available in a variety of plys, or thicknesses. Is the limb "hitting the bottom?" Add a sock! Still hitting the bottom, or moving too much? Add another! Layers are okay in the world of sock management. In fact, sometimes a limb will be hitting the bottom, but tight at the brim. Do not be afraid to cut the sock to provide increased volume at the bottom, but not increase the tightness at the top. It is also an option to cut small openings in the socks to relieve areas of increased pressure in the limb, typically at the distal end or over a boney prominence. Be sure to ask patients reporting a poor fit about their sock wearing techniques. Some patient were too many socks in an attempt to decrease the pressure, which can sometimes produce the opposite effect. Often times, limb volume changes will make a prosthetic fit unbearable. It is important to always keep socks in the clinic and teach patients to carry socks with them to assist with management. What might have been a cancelled physical therapy session secondary to a poorly fitting socket, could become a great educational treatment about the importance of sock management. Prosthetic socks are a great tool to help clinicians and patients attain the best fit for peak functional performance!

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