Case report: Variably compliant transtibial prosthetic socket fabricated using solid freeform fabrication

Bill Rogers, Gordon Bosker, Mario Faustini, Gail Walden, Richard R. Neptune, Richard Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Achieving and maintaining a comfortable fit in a lower-limb prosthetic socket is an important goal to help ensure a successful rehabilitation. The purpose of this case study was to assess the performance of sockets with compliant features integrated into the socket wall to relieve in-socket pressure during transtibial amputee gait. Two sockets incorporating variably compliant areas over the fibula head and distal tibia were fabricated for a transtibial amputee. The two sockets were designed with different levels of compliance and were compared with a third more conventional socket without compliant areas. All three sockets were otherwise geometrically identical and were aligned identically to eliminate in-socket pressure differences due to alignment. The three sockets were fabricated using selective laser sintering, a form of solid freeform fabrication. The in-socket pressure measurements were acquired during normal walking. Tekscan F-Socket pressure sensors were attached to the amputee's residual limb rather than to the socket wall, which made it possible to measure pressures in the same location on the residual limb upon change of socket. A Vicon motion capture system was used to match in-socket pressures to the subject's gait cycle. The pressure measurements showed that the compliant socket peak pressures over the distal tibia and fibula head were similar for the two compliance levels and nearly 50% and 30% lower than the conventional socket pressures, respectively. This case study showed that selective laser sintering manufactured sockets with variably compliant regions holds great promise for reducing contact pressure in sensitive regions of the residual limb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Prosthetics and Orthotics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Amputees
  • CAD
  • CAM
  • Prosthetic socket
  • Solid freeform fabrication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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