Systematic Review of Studies Examining Transtibial Prosthetic Socket Pressures with Changes in Device Alignment
Suitable lower-limb prosthetic sockets must provide an adequate distribution of the pressures created from standing and ambulation. A systematic search for articles reporting socket pressure changes in response to device alignment perturbation was carried out, identifying 11 studies. These were then evaluated using the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists guidelines for a state-of-the-science review. Each study used a design where participants acted as their own controls. Results were available for 52 individuals and five forms of alignment perturbation. Four studies were rated as having moderate internal and external validity, the remainder were considered to have low validity. Significant limitations in study design, reporting quality and in representation of results and the suitability of calculations of statistical significance were evident across articles. Despite the high inhomogeneity of study designs, moderate evidence supports repeatable changes in pressure distribution for specific induced changes in component alignment. However, there also appears to be a significant individual component to alignment responses. Future studies should aim to include greater detail in the presentation of results to better support later meta-analyses.