Healthcare Technology Featured Article

October 28, 2014

Infinite Socket Improves the Contact Point for Prosthetics

According to DARPA, since 2000 more than 2,000 service members have had an amputation of  limbs and another 2,600 had what the organization calls lesser amputations (such as the loss of a hand). Unlike traditional prosthetics, which were cumbersome, limited in mobility and extremely painful, today’s prosthetics are designed to provide more mobility using new age light-weight materials, computer technology and enough comfort so it can be worn for longer periods without discomfort and pain. While the different components of prosthetic technology have moved forward, the socket where the hardware is connected to the individual has seen little improvement. LIM Innovations is developing prosthetic technology to help amputees move comfortably and efficiently with a socket that adjusts to the individual.

Using modern manufactured components and materials, streamlined fabrication and fitting process, the LIM socket has introduced a new standard in prosthetic socket technology.

Getting fitted for a prosthetic is time-consuming and expensive, and the fit almost always leaves much to be desired. By understanding these critical points, the company went on to address these issues one at a time, which resulted cutting the 30 day average it takes to provide a conventional socket to three days. It also addressed a critical aspect of any prosthetic, comfortable fit, by learning about the volume change a residual limb undergoes in one day.

According to the company a residual limb can experience a volume change of 5 percent daily, which means traditional sockets will not be able to compensate for these changes, resulting in a painful experience for the individual throughout the day. If the socket can’t be adjusted, the prosthetic has to be removed in order to alleviate the pain, an inconvenience many amputees have to deal with using traditional sockets.

Garrett Hurley, the CIO and Co-founder of LIM told Wired, “One-off fabrication is great if you want to create a snapshot in time. But the limb is dynamic. The limb changes, this leaves it up to patients to figure out how to re-achieve a decent fit. It isn’t unusual for someone to layer a half-dozen socks on their stump to get things snug inside a socket. Even then, blisters and sores are common.”

The LIM technology has a modular design with an adjustable fit, which begins with a rapid evaluation and digital fitting system. Once the system has been designed for the individual he or she can adapt the socket to optimize the fit on the fly or anytime it is needed.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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