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Prosthetic Socks

What is the purpose of using socks?
  • Prosthetic socks occupy space inside the prosthetic socket to accommodate for volume changes in the amputated limb.
  • Understanding how your limb fits in your prosthesis is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT and will affect the comfort and function of your prosthesis as well as your quality of life.
  • This is important because your limb volume WILL change. 
  • If you lose weight or the limb shrinks for any number of reasons, the limb will slide further into the socket and potentially “bottom out” which can be painful and problematic.
  • If you add weight or the limb size increases for any number of reasons, the limb will be unable to fit into the socket or may feel tighter than it previously had, this can cause a disjunction between your limb and socket which can also be painful and problematic.
How do I put on my prosthetic socks?
  1. Gently slide the sock on over your limb, foam or gel liner.
  2. Ensure there are NO WRINKLES in the sock, as these can lead to problems.
  3. Slide plastic ring to the end of the limb if it is not already there.
What does prosthetic sock “ply” mean?
  • Sock “ply” is a term used for the thickness of the prosthetic sock.
  • Socks typically range from 1-ply being the thinnest to 5-ply being the thickest.
  • Socks also come in a range of materials and sizes that should be sized appropriately for your limb.
When should I add socks?
  • This can get tricky, if you have questions contact your prosthetist. 
  • ALWAYS REMEMBER, fixing small problems will prevent big problems occurring.
  • However, there are a few key things to look for:
    • For Above Knee amputees:
      • Do you feel like your limb is feeling pressure or pain from the bottom of the socket?
      • Is your groin falling further into the socket? 
      • Does the ischial seat or “butt bone” area feel increased pressure or pain? 
      • Is there rubbing or pain in the groin where there was not before?
      • Does the prosthesis rotate in your limb as you walk?
      • Does the prosthesis slide up and down on your limb as you walk?
      • In a suction/vacuum socket – Do you feel like you are losing suction?
    • For Below Knee amputees: 
      • Do you feel like your limb is feeling pressure or pain from the bottom of the socket?
      • Is your patella or “knee-cap” falling further into the socket?
      • Does the prosthesis rotate in your limb as you walk?
      • Does the prosthesis slide up and down on your limb as you walk?
      • In a suction/vacuum socket – Do you feel like you are losing suction?
How do I clean and maintain my prosthetic socks?
  • You can wash your socks with a fragrance free mild detergent and let it air or spin dry.  Heat will cause the socks to shrink in size.
  • It is recommended that you have a well-stocked drawer of prosthetic socks in variable plys.
Key things to remember:
  • Wear clean socks every day. 
  • Do not wear socks for several days before washing them. It is not good for your skin or the usable lifetime of your prosthetic socks.
  • Be sure to carry extra socks with you daily, your limb will shrink throughout the day.
  • On hot and humid days you may want to put on fresh socks half way through the day.
  • Replace your socks as needed, the sock material will “pack down” over time, causing them to lose thickness and soft feel.

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