Using the Alpha® Liner to Manage Residual Limb Volume Change

Last month we talked about the concept of Alpha Liner “retrofitting” – swapping out one kind of Alpha Liner for another without having to switch sockets. As you may recall, there are two types of retrofitting. Our previous post described Lifestyle Activity Retrofitting, where you swap a liner of one interface material for another to accommodate different activities. This month we’re exploring the other option, which is called Volume Management Retrofitting.

Volume Management Retrofitting

This type of retrofitting provides a means of addressing fluctuations in residual limb volume when the amputation is fairly recent, when underlying conditions create volume fluctuation during certain activities, or when typical daily volume management compliance is difficult.

The concept behind this method is that the amputee is given multiple liners of differing profiles or material thickness that can accommodate change over time. This approach can eliminate the need for large number of sock additions. It’s an easier method of addressing volume change than having to guess which sock ply to use, and it provides instant protection to residual limb.

Because Alpha Classic Liners are available in a choice of 3 different thicknesses, these are the liners that are typically used in this particular protocol. (The 6 mm Uniform option that is available with Alpha Hybrid Liners can also be used in this way.) In addition to the thickness choices, Classic Liners are available in the three different profiles shown below.

uniform-profile tapered-liner-profile contoured-liner-profile

Examples of this type of retrofitting include the following:

  • A fairly new amputee might start out with a 3 mm Uniform liner, then switch to a 6 mm Uniform liner one month later as the swelling reduces.
  • Someone who tends to lose volume during the day could start with a 6 mm Uniform liner in the morning, and then switch to a 9 mm Uniform liner later in the day.
  • A dialysis patient might need a different thickness of liner at the end of treatment compared to the beginning.
  • Someone wearing a Uniform liner might end up needing to switch to a Contoured liner as she becomes more active.

In summary, whether the amputee needs liners of different materials to accommodate multiple activities, or liners of different thickness or profile to address variations in limb volume, retrofitting offers an effective solution for prosthetist and patient alike.

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