The choice of a thick or thin gel liner in transtibial amputees may ultimately come down to personal preference, according to research from Northwestern University in Chicago.
Investigators compared two prosthetic gel liners, one 3 mm thick and one 9 mm thick, in 11 subjects with unilateral transtibial amputation. Subjects were given two weeks to accommodate to each liner, then were analyzed while walking at a self selected speed.
Pressure distribution measurements indicated that peak pressures over the patellar tendon and fibular head were lower when the thicker liner was used, both during the first 40% of the gait cycle and the second 40%, but the differences were not statistically significant. Under the anterior distal tibia, peak pressure did not differ between liners during the second measurement and actually increased with the thicker liner during the first measurement; however, again, the differences were not statistically significant.
The results, presented in August at the emed Scientific Meeting, suggest that patient preference in addition to possible differences in pressure distribution should guide liner selection.