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is a Rehab Indy service to help inform our patients and other amputees about prosthetic components and services. As Practioners; performing the same tasks over the years, sometimes we overlook that not everyone is familiar with every aspect of prosthetics. That is why we have installed this forum called Tech Tip. Through the next several months we will be covering different areas of prosthetics that are important to you; the amputee, but areas we sometimes take for granted. If you have a Tech Tip idea contact and we will detail that phase of prosthetics.

This months featured topic is:

Prosthetic Socks

The most valuable tool that patients have to adjust the fit of a prosthetic device are prosthetic socks. Most prosthetic devices are fabricated to a set size, but a patient's limb is constantly changing due to weight change, activity, or maturing of their limb. To adjust to these changes patients are supplied with a variety of prosthetic socks. The most common size's are one ply, three ply (the same thickness as three one plys), and five ply (the same thickness as five one plys). Special size's can also be ordered. Prosthetic socks may be worn individually or may be worn in multiple layers, to obtain the best fit. The most common mistake is to over sock (adding to many socks at once). As a general rule only add one ply at a time to adjust to any change's, if wearing a three ply add a one ply over the three ply to make the change to a total to four plys. If more thickness is still needed remove the one ply and the three ply and apply a five ply, this will increase the amount of sock ply but reduce the number of socks. A guide line for below knee amputees when to add sock ply is; when mtp bar pressure starts pushing underneath kneecap and distal (bottom) pressure increase's. A guideline for above knee amputees when to add sock ply is; when socket brim begins to cause pressure in groin area and distal (bottom) pressure increase's. Below is a photo of the most common prosthetic socks with a brief description and care instructions of each style.

    A. Prosthetic Sheath.
  • A thin nylon generaly used as a skin interface.
  • Hand wash with a mild soap and air dry.
    B. Silipos Silicone Sheath.
  • A thin nylon with a silicone gel used as a skin interface.
    Two ply thickness silicone gel cushions patients limb.
  • Hand wash with a mild soap and air dry.
    C. Cotton Cast Sock.
  • A one ply cotton sock generaly used for small fit adjustments.
  • Hand wash with a mild soap and air dry.
    D. Royal Knit CoolMax Socks.
  • A synthetic blend stretch sock.
    Available in size's (one),(one-two),(three),(five).
    Conforms well to patient's limb due to stretch design.
    Fabric design removes moisture away from skin.
    Do not over stretch this will change thickness of sock.
  • Machine wash warm.
    Bleach if needed, cold water only.
    Pre-treat if needed.
    Tumble dry warm.
    Use a sheet fabric softner (no liquid softner).
    Do not hand wash.
    E. Knit-Rite Wool Sock.
  • A wool sock available in 3 ply and 5ply.
  • Wash on gentle cycle, warm.
    Rinse at least twice.
    Air dry away from heat or sun.
A few helpful tips about prosthetic socks. Always apply sock to limb with no winkles, this can lead to quick abbrasions. Wear a fresh sock each day. Wear the socks in rotation when possible this allows the resiliency to return to the fibers. Use care when choosing a soap or detergent to clean socks, this is the leading cause of many skin irritations.

A service from the staff at

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Amputees Serving Amputees

Rehabilitation Institute Of Indianapolis, Inc.
2437 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, In. 46208
Phone: 1-888-456-7440 or 317-924-4505