Monday, August 3, 2009

Steps Before Walking

With my first leg strap-in suspension system, here are the basic steps for donning (putting on) the prosthesis. I am getting a new suction only system this Friday which should be easier to don. You will soon see why I am looking forward to it.

This strap-in system is a bit of a pain in the butt in that it takes a long time to don, and even after it is on it takes a good bit of monkeying to get the fit right. I'll explain as we go through the pics. The official name for this particular system is called KISS: Keep It Simple Suspension.

These are the basic pieces. From left, the strap-in liner, a multi-ply sock, and the leg. The leg has multiple parts, the main one for this exercise is the plastic socket. The strap itself has velcro on one side.

Here is the liner and my stump (residual limb). The liner is rolled down to be ready for donning.

This is the tricky past, getting the liner over the end of the stump. There is a plastic cup at this end that needs to be held in a flattened position to get good contact over the distal end of the stump. Harder than it looks!

Once over the end the process of rolling the liner up the leg is done. The distal end of the limb is still a little tender so the first inch or so is, uh, uncomfortable.

Rolling the liner up the leg is sometimes easier than others. The main thing is to keep good contact with the skin and keeping air out. If I don't get it right then it's back off for another try.

Once the liner is on, prosthetic socks are added or removed over it for a snug fit in the socket. This is a 3-ply sock.

Here I'm adding a single-ply sock after testing the fit in the socket. Fit is paramount or it will hurt more to walk!

The leg is ready to be put in the socket.

The strap must be put through a slot in the bottom of the socket.

The strap is pulled through and I push my stump into the socket while tightening the strap.

I usually stand and make sure I have a snug fit, adjusting the strap again.

The velcro strap is pulled through a metal ring at the top of the socket at secured on itself.

Leg on and ready to go? Not exactly. I walk around a bit, sometimes with my crutches or cane as the leg is not a happy camper at first. I often stop to adjust the strap before the stump settles into a comfortable enough position before I can walk without limping.

Time to get in the SUV, loosen the strap (!) so I can move my knee enough to get the leg out of the way of the gas pedal so I can drive with my left foot. When I get to the office or wherever I'm going I have to go through the strap tightening process all over again. For some this system might work well; for me, it doesn't mainly due to it being on my right leg.

So yes, I am looking forward to a new suction suspension this Friday (no strap!) and have a great interest in the new vacuum systems for running a few months hence. The latter is getting a lot of new development in O&P and as units get smaller and more sophisticated perhaps perspiration can be finally addressed too.


A journey of a thousand miles begins preparing for the first step, not taking it.

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