Device monitored sock use in transtibial amputees

Researchers developed a device that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) to continuously monitor sock use in transtibial prosthesis wearers, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.

“People with limb loss are commonly advised to add or remove socks to accommodate changes in the size of their residual limb over the day,” the authors wrote in the study. “Part of the challenge for a practitioner helping a patient solve limb volume management problems is that information about the patient’s sock use outside of the clinic is limited to verbal input from the patient.”

The researchers placed RFID tags on the prosthetic socks of three unilateral transtibial amputee participants. A high-frequency RFID reader and antenna were placed in a portable wireless unit mounted to the outside of the prosthetic socket.

They found that the device correctly monitored sock presence during sitting, standing and walking activity when one or two socks were worn, but it was less reliable when more socks were used. Detection was also affected by tag orientation relative to the reader, carbon fiber in the prosthetic socket, pistoning of the limb and tag overlap.

“A sock monitor may prove useful for prosthetic fitting by providing quantitative information to the practitioner between clinical visits about how many socks a patient wears and when sock changes are made,” the authors wrote. “There are challenges that need to be overcome for it to operate as a reliable clinical device. Potentially, the sock monitor can be extended into a clinical feedback device to tell a patient via alarm, smartphone message, or some other means when a sock needs to be added or removed.”

For more information:

Sanders JE. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012; doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2011.09.0169.

Disclosures: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.

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