Using mechanical testing to assess the effect of lower-limb prosthetic socket texturing on longitudinal suspension
To function effectively, a lower limb prosthetic socket must remain securely coupled to the residual limb during walking, running and other activities of daily living; this coupling is referred to as suspension. When this coupling is insufficient longitudinal pistoning of the socket relative to the residual limb occurs. Increasing friction of the socket/liner interface may improve socket suspension and textured sockets may be fabricated relatively easily with 3D printing. The aim of this study
... aim of this study was to investigate longitudinal displacement of sockets with different types of textures under two suspension conditions: passive suction and active vacuum. In order to do this, we developed a mock residual limb and mechanical testing protocol. Prosthetic sockets, 14 textured sockets and an Original Squirt-Shape (OSS) Socket, were fabricated from polypropylene copolymer using the Squirt-Shape™ 3D Printer and compared to a smooth socket thermoformed from polypropylene copolymer. Sockets were mounted onto a dual durometer mock residual limb and subjected to four levels of distraction forces (100 N, 250 N, 500 N and 650 N) using a hydraulic material testing system. There was a statistically significant three-way interaction between suspension, force level and texture (p < 0.0005). Longitudinal displacements between textured and reference sockets, for all force levels and both suspension conditions, were significantly different (p < 0.0005). Using these newly developed mechanical testing protocols, it was demonstrated that texturing of polypropylene copolymer sockets fabricated using Squirt-Shape significantly decreased longitudinal displacements compared to a smooth socket. However, none of the novel textured sockets significantly reduced longitudinal displacement compared to the OSS socket under passive suction suspension.