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Prosthetic Belts and Straps Primer

    Below-Knee Amputee Prosthetic Belts and Straps

    Straps for below-knee amputees are available with or without a waist belt. The big advantage with using straps is that they are adjustable, which can be an important consideration when follow-up visits to your Prosthetist are difficult. Straps also accommodate size and volume changes better than any other alternative, making them the preferred suspension for people undergoing kidney dialysis or those who anticipate significant weight loss. 
    At one time, prosthetic strap and belt suspension systems were commonly prescribed for the initial prosthesis. Advancements in prosthetic sleeve and liner technology have made it possible to adjust for normal post-amputation atrophy (shrinking) and as a result, straps are no longer the preferred option for preparatory BK limbs. One of the most common applications for prosthetic straps and belts is to provide auxiliary suspension when playing sports or hiking. A removable fork strap and prosthetic belt can be applied to a prosthesis suspended with a prosthetic sleeve or liner providing amputees with additional security when jumping or walking through deep mud or snow. 

    Above-Knee Amputee Prosthetic Belts

    Neoprene Prosthetic Belts

    Suspension characteristics:  Strong suspension for either primary or secondary use.  Neoprene provides good adhesion to your prosthetic socket regardless if over a cosmetic cover or against the socket itself.

    Prosthetic Belt Benefits:  Neoprene prosthetic belt suspension is a very efficient and cost effective technique to use as a primary or secondary suspension system.  Neoprene and latex Above-Knee suspension belts are very durable.

    Good-to-Know: If you have skin allergies to latex than these belts are not appropriate for you.  If you are diabetic or have sensitive skin, a more breathable material would be better. Ideal for all activity levels.  Pediatric sizes available.  Neoprene tends to retain heat and moisture more so than a nylon alternative.

    Nylon Prosthetic Belts

    Suspension characteristics:  Strong suspension for either primary or secondary use.  Nylon Lycra belts are available in a few different configurations.  A continuous waist design eliminates the bulk common with velcro closures and improves cosmesis.  Adjustable leg designs make it easier to remove and apply your belt repeatedly, eliminating limitations associated with other designs.

    AK Prosthetic Belt Benefits:  Very durable and conforming.  Materials are typically thin and breathable.  Nylon and lycra mix is cooler than neoprene material. Less perspiration reported with AK prosthetic belts designed with nylon/lycra materials.

    Good-to-Know: This material is available in many configurations from Knit-Rite. From a gunslinger waist to a adjustable waist and leg to nonadjustable waist.  Typically latex free aside from a few manufacturers that add a rubber adhesion area that holds onto the prosthesis. Lower profile than designs incorporating neoprene.  If  you're an avid cycle rider than nylon prosthetic belts are an obvious choice.

    What AK Prosthetic Belt Features are important:

    Prosthetic Belt Suspension Features:

    Adjustable leg:  Allows for easy installation and repeated on and off.  AK Amputees can regulate how secure around the prosthesis to make the belt. Works well when applying over a prosthetic cosmetic foam cover.

    Waist Configurations:

    1. Gunslinger: Provides a more oblique line of pull, versus transverse  around your waist.  Allows for slightly improved prosthetic socket control during single limb support.
    2. Continuous Waist: cosmetically appealing and arguably more secure around your waist.

    Reinforcements built into the belt help prevent excessive pistioning and can assist with prosthetic socket rotation.

    Comfort features:

    Continuous waist configuration is lower profile and less cumbersome.  Prosthetic gunslinger or silesian designs can offer a more secure sensation for new AK prosthetic users.