Current practices for designing lower limb prosthetic sockets follow a time intensive, iterative, “trial-and-error” approach. Optimizing socket fit is largely dependent on subjective feedback from the person with lower-limb amputation. Additional complications from diabetes including loss of sensation and neuropathy can add to difficulties in prosthetic socket fitting and design when seeking subjective feedback relating to pressure and pain.
As a result of the compromised sensation and limitations in the feedback loop between fitting and adjustments, the prosthetic wearer may experience discomfort, rubbing, chaffing, bruising and tissue damage which is unreported until visibly identified.
MDRI members Prof Mark Taylor, Dr Rami Al-Dirini and Dr Saulo Martelli, were recently awarded an International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) research grant ‘Closing the loop for the Next-Generation of Prosthetic Socket Design Using Biomechanical Computational Models. The project is in collaboration with the Director of Orthotics and Prosthetics SA- OPSA, Ms Sally Cavenett and Senior radiographer, Mr John Nisyrios from Fowler Simmons Radiology.
In this project, the team will develop tools that provide thorough biomechanical evaluation of various prosthetic socket designs to guide clinicians’ decisions on the best-matched design for the individual’s residual limb condition. This is expected to reduce the risk of injury, reduce the number of visits to prosthetic facilities to obtain best-fit, and consequently improve service efficiency and client satisfaction.