Because people who use transtibial prostheses typically experience residual limb volume losses over the course of the day that can detrimentally affect socket fit, researchers at the University of Washington studied whether temporarily doffing the prosthesis encouraged residual limb fluid volume recovery and whether the recovered fluid was maintained. In the study, published February 20 online before print in the journal Prosthetics and Orthotics International, the authors concluded that the percentage of fluid volume gain and retention were greatest when the prosthesis and liner were doffed for 30 minutes.
The residual limb fluid volume of 16 participants was monitored in three test sessions. In each session, the participants conducted six cycles of resting/standing/walking. Between the third and fourth cycles, participants sat for 30 minutes in each of three conditions: with the prosthesis and liner donned, the prosthesis doffed but the liner donned, and the prosthesis and liner doffed. The condition that provided the second-best residual limb fluid volume recovery and maintenance was when the prosthesis was doffed but the liner donned.
The research team suggested that practitioners should therefore advise patients who undergo high daily limb volume losses to consider temporarily doffing his or her prosthesis. Fluid volume retention during subsequent activity will be highest if both the prosthesis and liner are doffed.