The Evolution of Upper Limb Prosthetic Socket Design

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Well thought out socket designs and careful consideration of residual limb presentation set the stage for patient success—maximizing range of motion, providing stability throughout daily activities, and comfortably distributing the forces exerted on the residual limb during movement and suspension. In contrast, poor socket design will often drive people to abandon the prosthesis because many patients have an intact arm or hand. The foundation for all prosthetic procedures is a well designed and considerate prosthetic socket. The purpose of this article is to shed light on the many variables behind the evolution of upper limb socket design. Review of historical literature reveals two distinct and major influences—material science and the emerging upper limb prosthetic specialist.

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