The Department of Veterans Affairs has invented a novel tool for recent lower limb amputees, who often have variability in the volume and contour of the residual limb. Businesses can license the patent-pending invention for manufacturing and sales.
Users of a prosthetic limb may manage the changes in the fit and comfort of their prosthetic socket due to this variability by putting on and taking off prosthetic socks of varying thickness throughout the day.
But managing the use of socks can be difficult for a recent amputee, and there are many new routines to become accustomed to following the amputation of a limb. Too few socks or too many socks can both cause increased pressure on the distal end of the residual limb, making it hard to distinguish when to add or remove socks.
Incorrect use of socks can lead to skin breakdown and serious complications that can result from a nonhealing wound.
It would be beneficial to have a system to manage these variables and instructions explaining how to decide when to apply or remove prosthetic socks, how to care for the socks, and how often to check their socket for fit and comfort.
To address these issues, the VA has developed and patented a Prosthetic Sock Management Tool (PSMT) comprised of:
- a multiple-zippered bag of three connected, machine washable, quick-dry pouches for sock storage which separates socks of different ply
- an easy to use infographic that instructs on both correct sock usage and care
- an instructional video available both in the clinic and via the internet
- reminders for three times daily comfort and fit checks
The PSMT is to be used by prosthetists to help educate their patients on the proper use of prosthetic socks following a lower limb amputation and then by the patients as they manage their use of prosthetic socks.
This facilitates the maintenance of the health of the residual limb following amputation and will reduce the number of subsequent clinic visits and enhance the quality of life for individuals with amputations.
- Healthier residual limb - Maintaining the integrity of the skin on the residual limb will result in fewer return clinic visits due to complications from improper use of socks
- Increased prosthetic fit and comfort - The ability to effectively manage limb volume changes using prosthetic socks, resulting in sustained comfort and appropriate fit
- Stronger self-efficacy - The belief that recent amputees will be able to cope with this aspect of daily life
- Maintaining participation - Preventing skin problems will allow Veterans to maintain participation in important life roles (social, family, school, work)
- Businesses can license the patent-pending invention from the VA for manufacturing and sales
- License fees paid to the VA are negotiable
- Businesses that license the invention may further collaborate with the VA inventors
- TechLink navigates businesses through licensing at no cost