Common Terms & Definitions


Adjustable post-operative protective prosthetsis


Removal of all or part of a limb, due to infection, disease, tumor, injury or trauma.


A reference to an above the knee amputation or otherwise medically termed: Transfemoral amputation.


A reference to a below the knee amputation or otherwise medically termed: Transtibial amputation.

Check Socket:

Also called a test socket or diagnostic socket. These are used to "pre-fit" a prosthesis before it is made out of a stronger material that is difficult to adjust.

Definitive Prosthesis:

Usually this is  the second prosthesis you will receive. This prosthesis employs more advanced and lighter-weight prosthetic components ( feet, knees). First definitive prosthesis usually lasts approximately six months to a year.

Replacement Socket:

A replacement socket is after you have worn your definitive prosthesis for six months or more and have weight gain, volume loss or any changes that require you to receive a new definitive prosthesis.

Cosmetic Covering:

A cosmetic cover is a foam material that is applied to your definitive prosthesis (second or third prosthesis). This cover is shaped to look like your other leg. The size of a cosmetic cover is determined by the size of the socket, and size of the socket is determined by the size of your residual limb, which will likely decrease in size.

Distal End:

The very end or bottom of your residual limb (stump).


The act of taking the prosthesis off.


The act of putting the prosthesis on.



Residual Limb (Stump):

The remaining part of an amputated extremity.


These are tight, stretchable garments that reduce swelling in a residual limb following surgery. Shrinkers are usually provided within the first 1-2 weeks after the amputation. People with vascular problems may have to continue wearing a shrinker long after they are fit with their prosthesis because it helps to maintain a stable residual limb volume and ensures that the prosthesis will fit properly each day. Shrinkers are not provided to every new amputee; there are other post-operative treatments available depending on physician preference.


The padded inner most part of the socket. This can be made of various padding material such as Pelite or gel. Many of the newer liners that you may hear about are made of various types of gels such as: silicone, urethane, or thermoplastic elastomer. Please let your Prosthetist know if you have a known allergy to any of these materials.


This means tightening of the muscle(s). Contractures most commonly occur in the hamstrings or the muscles in the back of the thigh. If not managed properly, these muscles can quickly tighten up or become contracted, preventing full extension (straightening) of the knee. When these muscles are too tight they can greatly hinder a person's ability to walk with their prosthesis. It is important to periodically move your knee from full flexion (knee bent) to full extension (knee straight). This will help to maintain good joint motion.

Phantom Symptoms:

Phantom sensation is when you feel your amputated foot is still attached to your leg. Phantom pain is when your amputated foot or leg hurts. While for most people these symptoms subside within the first few months following the amputation, some people continue to experience these sensations much longer. You may ask your physician about medications to treat phantom symptoms if yours are severs.


The artificial replacement of any portion of the body, (i.e. hip, knee or extremity).