Amputee Resources: Liner Basics 101
Learning everything you need to know about your amputation and prosthesis can be overwhelming. WillowWood is here to break it down.
What Does a Liner Do?
Prosthetic liners serve two basic functions: skin protection and suspension of the limb. They are made of three base materials that aid with this function: urethane, silicone, and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).
Urethane acts and feels similar to human skin. It moves when weight is put on it, thinning at the bone and thickening around muscle.
Silicone is a readily available material that has been used in the medical field for years because of its protective qualities for skin and durability, making it a viable material for liners.
TPE is derived from thermoplastic in a gel form. It provides a skin-friendly quality and protection while also providing cushioning from shock absorption.
The Evolution of Liners
Originally, all liners were tubular and had one thickness of TPE gel, silicone, or urethane throughout the inside of the liner. Today, liners are designed to accommodate common amputation shapes in prosthetics. These amputation shapes are largely determined by the surgical procedure performed.
These newer patterns of thickness throughout the inside of liners serve to make wearing the liners more comfortable. The internal patterns of thickness are called liner profiles.
For more information on liner profiles, be on the lookout for our next Liner Basics 101 blog coming soon!
Prosthetic Terms You Might Not Know
Prosthetics industry jargon can be confusing. Below is a list of commonly used terms that you might be hearing from your clinician.
Anterior: the front surface of a biologic structure
Posterior: the rear surface of a biologic structure
Proximal: closer to the central portion of the body
Distal: the end that is farthest from the central portion of the body
Donning: putting a prosthesis on
Doffing: taking a prosthesis off
Locking: a liner with the a built-in screw thread at the end for use with a lock type suspension (usually a pin lock)
Cushion: a liner without a built-in screw thread at the end
Profile: the pattern and thickness of the gel or silicone inside a liner
Tibial Crest: front apex ridge of the tibia
Fibular Head: outside bony prominence at the top of the fibula where it meets the knee
For a more complete list of terms, click here.
NOTE: Always contact your clinician for prosthetic care advice. The above descriptions are available to help you get started in choosing which option may be best suited for you, but should never replace prosthetic advice from your clinician.