Your Shopping Cart

All About Prosthetic Liners: Part 1

Posted by Bryan Potok, CPO on

Welcome to our All About Prosthetic Liners series where we break down the characteristics and uses of one of the most popular prosthetic components. In this article, we talk about the various prosthetic liner suspension systems and how they work. In part 2, we will discuss the different materials and characteristics of prosthetic liners, while in part 3, we will outline essential care tips.

Prosthetic liners have different types of suspension systems.

 

The prosthetic liner is the most commonly used component for suspending or cushioning within a prosthesis. Often referred to as silicone socks or jelly liners, prosthetic liners are usually made from gel elastomers and silicone. They are designed to roll up and over the residual limb to shield the skin from friction-related skin injuries, as well as provide positive suspension of the prosthesis. 

As of this writing, a properly fitting prosthetic liner is recognized as the most secure method for suspending a prosthetic limb. More prosthetic brands now manufacture various prosthetic liner options and styles, so there is something for everyone.  

Just as there are different prosthetic liner styles, there are also various methods to attach a prosthesis. These methods are commonly referred to as prosthetic liner suspension systems. 

Prosthetic liner suspension systems 

There are many different ways to secure a prosthesis to your residual limb. Your prosthetist will recommend a prosthetic suspension system based on your abilities and circumstances. 

A prosthetic suspension system works to deliver the following: easy on and off of a prosthesis, reliability which keeps the user from falling or tripping, and control as the user walks on their leg. 

Pin-locking prosthetic liners

Prosthetic pin locking system is commonly prescribed for below-the-knee (BK) amputees.

The pin lock is commonly prescribed for below-the-knee (BK) amputees. This is because the system is reliable and straightforward. A pin located on the bottom of the liner attaches into a lock built integrated into the socket. Securing your prosthesis is as simple as rolling on your prosthetic liner and having the pin engage with receptacle or lock within the socket. To doff or remove your leg prosthesis, you only need to press the release button. 

Although the most common type of locking mechanism, the pin lock is not without issues. If you wear a lot of sock ply, 15-ply or more, engaging the lock with the pin can sometimes be difficult. For those amputees with sensitive distal (bottom) ends, a pin lock can create discomfort from mild pistoning of your prosthesis. Pistoning is the up and down motion of your residual limb within the socket. 

Suction suspension

The suction suspension system uses a one-way valve to maintain the negative pressure between the socket and the prosthetic liner. When the load on the artificial limb is lifted, the system stays in place by utilizing atmospheric pressure. This negative pressure system is dependent upon limb position is only activated during the swing phase of walking.

There are two types of suction suspension systems. The first uses prosthetic sleeves to seal the socket from the atmosphere. This system is commonly recommended for transtibial or below-knee sockets. 

Suction suspension systems use prosthetic sleeves to seal the socket from the atmosphere.

 

The second type of suction suspension utilizes membranes, which are often made of elastic material, to maintain negative pressure. The membranes are located on the prosthetic liner or inside the socket. 

Suction suspension utilizes elastic membranes to maintain negative pressure.

Elevated vacuum suspension  

Elevated vacuum suspension systems use an electrical or mechanical pump to maintain lower pressure.

Elevated vacuum suspension operates more or less using the same concept as suction suspension; however, it requires an electrical or mechanical pump. Instead of relying on one-way valves, the system uses the pump to maintain lower pressure. As air is expelled from the prosthetic socket, your residual limb is pulled toward the socket walls and held there using the force of negative air pressure as vacuum effect is created. Elevated vacuum suspension uses an active pump to create a negative pressure difference that doesn't depend on limb position like suction.

Lanyard System 

Lanyard suspension system utilizes a cord and is often recommended to amputees with very bulbous residual limbs or who have a lot of loose skin.

The lanyard suspension system utilizes a cord, which is attached to the bottom of the prosthetic liner and is fed through a hole in the side or bottom of the socket and attached to the outer socket. To don your prosthesis, pull your residual limb into the socket and secure the lanyard. 

This system is often recommended to amputees with very bulbous residual limbs or who have a lot of loose skin. A lanyard system also solves any issues of hypersensitivity along the bottom of a residual limb from discomfort related to pistoning and use of a pin lock system.    

Which suspension system are you employing right now? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below. 
Link to this page
<a href="https://amputeestore.com/blogs/amputee-store-blog/all-about-prosthetic-liners-part-1">All About Prosthetic Liners: Part 1</a>

Older Post Newer Post


7 comments


  • What if you push the button and the pin doesn’t disengage? What’s the best way to get the liner out of the prosthesis or your stump out of the liner?

    Carol on

  • I utilize the suction Suspension system. This system requires a tight seal from your sleeve . I recently encountered pain in my limb due to a hole that was in my sleeve that I did not become aware of until after a few weeks, it is imperative to have a tight sleeve seal. Again this is in my humble opinion. I am not a professional just a 3 yr bilateral.

    Juan on

  • What can be done about the smell in my silicon liner. Wifey loves me..but says my socket is unbearable to her. I have a waterproof microprocessor knee, so I step in the shower…leg and all. Give the socket a good wash/rinse. Next day the stank is back. M

    Michael Lockhart on

  • I really enjoy reading the information you have. I have a pin locking system, but I was not aware of these other kinds. Just being more informed about other kinds helps me understand things better and why it is prescribed for each individual. Thank you.

    Deborah Kircus on

  • I use the pin lock and it works very well I put it on and it stay on for about 12 to 13 hours a day with not trouble. Dankmayer is where I received my leg number two.

    Albert Amirault on


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Subscribe

Sign up for Amputee News and Offers