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Tuesday, 11 July 2017 18:53

Understanding the Components of Your Prosthetic Limb

The world of prosthetics is relatively unfamiliar to the general public, but the advancements in prosthetics over the past couple decades amaze those who come in contact with one. Prosthetics today are technologically advanced and are designed specific for each individual, allowing amputees to be as functional as they were prior to amputation, and in some cases more.

Prosthetics are made up of various components with varying degrees of complexity, and it seems like the technology is constantly evolving. However, there are some generalities of a prosthetic leg that need to be initially understood. That understanding is crucial for a person who is living with limb loss, as well as those who have a friend or loved one who is dealing with amputation.

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The Prosthetic Limb

This encompasses the entire prosthesis itself. Whether you are an upper extremity (UE) amputee, for example a below elbow (BE), or a lower extremity (LE) amputee like a below knee (BK), no one prosthetic limb fits all.

The level of amputation, the residual limb itself, and the lifestyle of the amputee all play a major role in determining what type of prosthetic limb will be designed and created. In general, a custom prosthetic limb, designed specifically for each amputee, is constructed to be lightweight, durable, and as functional as possible.

The Socket

The socket is the most critical component of your prosthesis. If it doesn't fit correctly, an amputee can experience pain and discomfort, rendering the entire prosthetic limb to be unusable.

The socket is the containment device that a residual limb fits into. It is created by a variety of methods, including plaster casting, as well as today's latest advancements like computer aided laser scanning. It is designed to the specific shape of the amputee's residual limb, and generally is the connection point of the amputee and their prosthetic limb.

Like the rest of our body, our residual limb can change over time. As these changes occur, socket replacements are necessary in order to maintain a correctly fitting prosthesis.

Various Components

Depending of the level of amputation, your prosthetic device will require components that will need to mimic those areas of the body that have been amputated. For example, with a BK amputee, ankle and foot components are chosen and added to the prosthetic limb.

No matter your level of amputation, there are a multitude of components to choose from. Your Prosthetist should discuss a variety of component options with you, as each of these components can vary greatly in appearance, durability, function and cost. After much consultation, you and your Prosthetist will determine which component(s) are necessary and right for you.


Learning about prosthetics can seem overwhelming, but it is a critical first step in the process. Education is an invaluable asset to an amputee, and one that is often overlooked by the amputee and by some prosthetic facilities. The more an amputee understands about his/her prosthetics and the choices that are available to them, the more functional and successful they will be as an amputee.

To understand more about the prosthetic limb, explore our website as we discuss in more detail how prosthetics are created and how to live successfully with one. If you have additional questions, speak with one of the many experts at Fourroux Prosthetics who are available to assist you.

Fourroux offers FREE consultations. Simply call 888-810-6220 to schedule one today!