Fluctuating volume in a patient’s residual limb is a very common issue for amputees. Volume can vary from day to day, or between morning and evening. Volume fluctuations can cause discomfort, pressure bony prominences, breakdown of skin, pistoning (where the limb moves excessively in the socket) and a bad walking pattern. Scientists are currently studying solutions to help amputees with this issue.
There are a few ways this can be minimized, including special socket designs, suspension systems, and elevated vacuum systems. Special socket systems may use specific weight bearing sockets in order to reduce pressure. Suspension systems may include pin systems or suction sockets, which push air out of the socket.
Some amputees will use an elevated vacuum system. The elevated vacuum system uses a pump to pull air out of the system. One such example of the elevated vacuum system is the Ottobock Harmony System. It creates a vacuum between the liner and the socket, and makes a good socket fit.
To help a socket fit better, there are a few steps an amputee can take. Keeping the amputee’s weight within a narrow range can help a socket fit better. Making adjustments or using special socks or padding can help. Amputees should also get the prosthetic checked every six to 12 months.
The socket should be cleaned thoroughly every day, and socks and liners should also be cleaned regularly before using.
If your socket won’t fit and is uncomfortable, you may wish to have a new limb. However, often insurance companies are reluctant to pay for replacement prosthetics, arguing that they are unnecessary.
If your insurance company is failing to pay for your prosthetic, they may be acting in bad faith. If an insurance company is acting in bad faith, you may have the right to compensation from the insurance company, not only for the prosthetic limb but also for damages.
If you are having a problem with your Californian insurance company’s coverage of a prosthetic limb, call me, Conal Doyle, Amputation Attorney, at 310-385-0567. I can help you with your claim, and am a amputee myself so I understand firsthand the frustrations that amputees can face.