Many amputees wear prosthetic socks over their residual limb. These prosthetic socks come in a variety of thicknesses and materials. They’re many benefits and uses for these socks. They provide cushion, reduce and absorb friction, protect the skin, absorb perspiration, and compensate for shrinkage and/or swelling of the residual limb. As the residual limb matures it will begin to change size and shape. To maintain an appropriate fit of the prosthesis different thicknesses of socks are added to compensate volumetrically for any loss or gain that has occurred. A prosthetic sock thickness and weight is represented with the term “Ply”. As you increase in ply you increase in thickness. Below, is a reference guide to sock ply and their thickness.
1-Ply (White)- all white sock 3-Ply (Green)- all white sock with a green ring around the top end 5-Ply (Blue)- all white sock with a blue ring around the top end
You will receive several socks with your prosthesis. With this supply of socks you will be able to better manage your fit. Every time you put on the prosthesis it is important that you are aware of how many ply you have on. If the socket is loose fitting then add a ply, or if the socket is feeling tight then reduce your fit by a ply. This process may need to be repeated throughout the day as your limb will change volumetrically. It is ideal to have the best fit possible with the least amount of socks. For example, it is preferable to have on one 5-ply sock rather than one 3-ply sock with two 1-ply’s. Understanding prosthetic sock management is key to avoiding skin breakdown and irritation. With the proper fit and follow-up the chances of having a healthier residuum will increase.
Sheaths are also available for the prosthetic wearer. They are used to reduce friction caused by excessive rubbing and help wick away perspiration.