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FitSocket: The Key to Making Lower-Limb Prostheses Comfortable

Posted by Bryan Potok on

One of the most common complaints of lower-limb prosthetic users is that their prosthetic socket is uncomfortable. It's a good thing that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found a way to personalize prosthetic sockets through FitSocket. 

The FitSocket is developed by researchers in MIT to help make lower-limb prostheses more comfortable.

Traditional prosthetic sockets   

Traditionally, a prosthetic socket—a cup-shaped device that connects a residual limb to a prosthetic leg—is created by making a plaster cast of the limb. The cast or mold is sculpted and then formed into a socket using carbon fiber and similar materials, which makes the process more expensive. Furthermore, creating a prosthetic socket using this process while focusing on a user's comfort can take up so much time. Many times, prosthetists go back to step one if the prototype socket feels uncomfortable to the user.

The reason behind this time-consuming process lies in the fact that much of prosthetic socket design is art-based. While the shape of your residual limb is considered, it's much harder to account for soft tissue density or firmness when sculpting your cast. This can lead to discomfort and an ill-fitting test socket. 

Modern, customized prosthetic sockets  

Since the biomechanics of one person's residual limb differs from another person's, creating a more comfortable prosthetic socket calls for personalization. A team of researchers from MIT ventured to make prosthetic sockets that are more comfortable, which led to the creation of FitSocket.

The FitSocket is shaped like a ring and is comprised of 14 actuators that gently prod the residual limb to test how much pressure it takes to push the tissue in. The machine repeats this process to collect data on the rigidity of limb tissue accurately. The data is then used to create a map that shows the varying degrees of stiffness or softness in the tissue of your residual limb.   

The result is a more accurate prosthetic socket that effectively supports your body weight based on how much pressure your residual limb can comfortably tolerate. 

The video below shows how FitSocket works. 


How is your current prosthetic socket? Is it comfortable for you to use? If it isn't, what do you think of technological advancements in prosthetic technology like the FitSocket? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.  

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<a href="">FitSocket: The Key to Making Lower-Limb Prostheses Comfortable</a>

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  • Where is it available?

    William Omer Buckman on

  • My leg was amputated in February of last year. I’m got my definitive socket in May of last year which is way too big for me. I’m currently wearing 23 to 29 plies of socks in order to make the socket fit. At best it’s tolerable. At worst it hurts like the devil to walk on it which I do anyway. With 29 plies I can barely get my knee into the socket which means the leg is too long for me. Walking on uneven legs tilts my pelvis and causes incredible lower back pain after a while. where can I look into this technology when I get my next socket in 3-4 months?

    Richard on

  • Very interested, where is or will be available?

    Patrick Olsowy on

  • My rigid too large socket is so painful I can only tolerate it for short periods of time. I so desperately want to walk again!. Just wish I could have access to this technology.

    Gloria Pinto on

  • I would like to know more about this. We have just gone through a long process to get a leg. It’s been difficult to get an accurate fit.
    We are in California and going through “Hanger”
    Is this available to the public now or still in the development stage.

    Kathy Goulding on

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