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Adjustable Prosthetic Socket for Children and Adolescents to Accommodate Growth

Mar 21, 2024 |

A coach sitting on the football court floor with two students resting and talking after a match. One of the kids has a leg prosthesis.

Did you know that children and parents of children with limb loss and limb difference spend an average of 42.7 hours each year on prosthetic appointments, physical therapy, and associated travel?1

Since children are continually growing, they often require new prostheses and modifications to match their growth.  On average a child may need 15-20 prostheses in their lifetime.2 This can become very expensive with a basic prosthesis costing between $6,000 and $15,000, while more advanced devices run as much as $40,000.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a solution to this issue and are looking for volunteers to test out a fully adjustable prosthesis that can be fit in a single session.

What is the study all about? Children with lower limb amputation (above or below the knee) are eligible to participate in this study which will help evaluate an adjustable, immediate fit socket for comfort and functionality in comparison to their current prosthesis. Having an adjustable prosthesis can help accommodate growth and limb changes for longer periods versus a conventional prosthesis.

What does the study involve? If your child is eligible to participate, we invite you to visit our office within Penn Medicine, located at 1800 Lombard Street in Philadelphia, PA. The prosthesis will be fit to your child in the very first session and then will be scheduled to return in two months for follow up and evaluation.

Who can participate? Children meeting all of the following eligibility criteria will be invited to participate:

  • Children with a limb difference or amputation above-, through- or below-the-knee
  • Children whose residual limb is well healed after their amputation.
  • Participants must be between the ages of 7-18.

Is there compensation? All participants will receive compensation of $100 for the initial visit and $200 for the follow-up visit and will be able to keep the prosthesis following the study. Gas for travel expenses will be reimbursed and participants living within an hour of the testing site can have transportation arranged.

What happens next? For more information see our research flyer. To determine if your child is eligible, please contact the study Research Coordinator, Jessica Kenia, at 215-893-2678.


  1. Weir, Sharada, Patti Ephraim, and Ellen Mackenzie. “Effects of pediatric limb loss on healthcare utilization, schooling and parental labor supply.” Disability and rehabilitation24 (2010): 2046-2055.
  2. Walsh, N. E., & Walsh, W. S. (2003). Rehabilitation of landmine victims: the ultimate challenge. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 81, 665-670. PMCID: PMC2572531
  3. Prosthetic Limbs Spark Latest Insurance Backlash. Wall Street Journal. Joe Mantone. Mar 11, 2008.