Suspension sleeves help hold the prosthesis on to the residual limb. They work by wrapping over a portion of the prosthetic socket, and onto the thigh. The friction created between the sleeve, skin and socket is what holds the prosthesis onto the limb. Some suspension sleeves also rely on suction, which can be thought of as a vacuum created by an airtight seal between the sleeve and the underlying socket and limb. In this case, suction along with friction holds the prosthesis on.
Generally, to apply the suspension sleeve to your limb you should follow these steps:
- Reflect the suspension sleeve over the top of the prosthetic socket before putting the prosthesis on.
- Put your limb into the prosthesis, using the proper liner, sheaths, socks, etc.
- Extend your knee and push your limb all the way into the socket.
- Roll the sleeve up from around the socket, over the limb, and onto the thigh. There should be no wrinkles remaining in the sleeve. Make sure that at least 2 inches of the sleeve is in direct contact with the skin. Avoid pulling on the sleeve, as that will cause it to stretch and wear prematurely.
To remove the prosthesis and suspension sleeve, follow these steps:
- Roll the suspension sleeve down off of your thigh and over the socket.
- Lift your limb out of the socket.
Care and Maintenance
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning and maintenance. A simple way to clean your sleeve is to reflect it onto the socket, then wipe it down with a damp cloth. Your prosthetist may also instruct you on how to remove the suspension sleeve to clean it, and on how to reapply it to the prosthesis.
Your suspension sleeve should be inspected for damage whenever you clean it. You should look for cracks or tears in the gel or fabric. If you observe any of these or feel a loss of suspension of your prosthesis, you should contact your prosthetist to be evaluated for—and possibly obtain—a new sleeve. A physician’s visit may be necessary to obtain a prescription for such replacements.
This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.