Achieving a Sweat-less Prosthetic Design
Date of Award
Master of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics
Dr. Lana Huberty
Managing sweat in prosthetic liners is critical for the well-being and comfort of individuals facing limb loss. The research study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of 5 (five) different interventions over a 12-week period, with a total of around 6 study visits. Each study lasting for about 2 hours, including 45-minutes of physical activity during each study visit. The study involves 20 transtibial amputee participants recruited based on an inclusion/exclusion criteria, and the data collected aims to provide valuable insights to practitioners of Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P) for managing sweat-related issues in their patients. Skin breakdown, pistoning within the socket, reduced activities of daily living (ADLs), and diminished quality of life (QOL) are only some of the issues one may face related to sweat. Current interventions examined encompass a wide range of approaches such as, botulinum toxin in the residual limb, different suspension methods, perforated socket liners (PSL), open concept prosthetic designs, use of antiperspirants (AP) on the residual limb, sheaths under the liner, ice cooling element (ICE) systems built into the socket fabrication, NASA-inspired technology materials for liners and more in progress. Participants will undergo a 12-week intervention period where each intervention is tested in a random order every 2 weeks, engaging in the same personalized 45-minute workout to simulate real-life physical activity scenarios in a temperature regulated room of 80 degrees. Data collection included participant feedback through a questionnaire made specifically for this study including a Subject Comfort Score (SCS), observation of skin health from the research prosthetist, subjective assessment of sweat management, and overall satisfaction. Qualitative data will consist of data involving the iButton tracking the temperature of the participant’s skin. The results of this study will help practitioners make informed decisions when addressing sweat-related issues in their patients. The implications of this research are significant for both practitioners and amputees. Through determining the most effective intervention, O&P practitioners can tailor treatment plans to tackle the problem before the onset of the issues. Amputees alike benefit, having a better understanding of available options, and therefore able to make informed decisions when it comes to sweat management in their prosthetic liners.