“Before my body was even ready to being fitting for my new leg, they let me come and observe the work they do with other patients so I could get a better understand of what was in my future. Knowing a little more about what to expect helped me feel more comfortable,” Randy says.
After he was fully recovered, Randy began the several-months-long process of fitting for his prosthetic leg. USA prosthetists began by making a plaster mold of Randy’s leg, which is done by hand. They wrap plastic around the leg, put plaster on it, then let the plaster set up before pulling it off his leg. This negative mold is used to make a positive. The next step is to create another mold out of clear, hard plastic. Randy wore this prototype for a few weeks to see how it fit and to determine what adjustments were needed. After completing the small tweaks, the prototype is sent off, and a permanent socket is created.
“The socket really is the most critical part of a prosthetic limb – the fit needs to be seamless, and it’s tricky to get it just right. I don’t think people realize how much customization is needed for the leg to be comfortable and work properly,” Randy shares. “Your limb also changes throughout the day and with the seasons, making the socket fit tighter and loser. That’s why there are specific fabric socks in different thicknesses that I change out to make everything fit properly.”