FAQ

The Socket-less Socket™ uses similar Medicare and insurance coding as conventional sockets; therefore not only is it accessible for most users, but the cost of the Socket-less Socket™ to paying sources like Medicare or insurance companies is very similar to the cost of a conventional socket.  From a financial perspective, if your insurance or Medicare will cover a new socket, they will likely cover the Socket-less Socket™.  The Socket-less Socket™ has numerous possible configurations including selecting various forms of suspension and tissue management options.  As such, the end billing will reflect the socket design made for the end user, using existing coding.

For end-users: Our socket designs are billed by the clinical prosthetist using similar billing codes as they would use for billing conventional sockets, so the cost to the paying source (such as insurance or Medicare) should be similar to a conventional socket.

For prosthetists: Our technology offers the clinical prosthetist with a possible decrease in hard cost to fit and fabricate a socket – including time and materials. Fitting of our socket designs can be accomplished in a fraction of the time as their conventional socket counterparts, increasing the clinical practice efficiency. In many cases, a socket fitting can now occur in just one day compared to multiple appointments over several days with conventional socket designs.

You can be fit with the Socket-less Socket™ technology directly through Martin Bionics Clinical Care in Oklahoma City, or through any progressive clinical prosthetics provider.

We created the most comfortable sockets that exists – and we know how to fit them better than anyone. Our clinical team is focused on restoring quality of life through comfort.

If you prefer to be fit locally, we would be happy to help connect you with a practitioner that is trained and experienced in fitting our socket technologies, and we can support your socket fitting through Skype or FaceTime video support.

In conventional sockets, the carbon fiber lamination and inner socket materials are heat insulators.  Conversely, the Socket-less Socket’s™ open structure allows the limb heat to dissipate and makes the socket feel considerably cooler.  Likewise, many users find that they use their limb muscles more than in static conventional sockets, which likely promotes limb circulation and allows the body to better maintain a more consistent limb temperature.

No socks required!  The Socket-less Socket’s™ fit can be adjusted in real-time, making for a more consistently comfortable fit; therefore there is no need to wear or manage prosthetic socks.  Most users wear a gel liner, which is typically used as a basis for suspension – how the socket is held onto the limb.  

Many Socket-less Socket™ users find that they use their limb muscles more in the Socket-less Socket™ than they did in their static conventional socket, which helps promote better limb health.

In conventional sockets, users often complain that they feel like their limb muscles are hitting a rigid wall when they try to flex.  Conventional sockets do not promote muscle contraction during walking, and a typical amputee experiences considerable limb muscle atrophy over time.  Through the Socket-less Socket’s™ dynamic materials and open structure, the muscles are free to flex and results in the user feeling like they are using their limb muscles similar to how they used them when walking with a sound limb.

Many Socket-less Socket™ users find that for the first few days of walking in the Socket-less Socket™ that their limb muscles feel like they are being used more, and can feel tired at first.  Within a few days the muscles acclimatize to being used again and the feeling goes away.  Many users share that their limb feels stronger and many put on limb muscle mass after a few weeks of use.  The inherent adjustability that the Socket-less Socket™ uniquely offers allows the socket to remain fitting well, while accommodating for increased muscle growth.

Conventional sockets are rigid, heavy, and trap heat.  The Socket-less Socket™ designs uniquely offers user-adjustable volume accommodation, is lightweight, and breathable – qualities that most amputees desire. It has been successfully fit to all limb types – Short limbs to long, large limbs to small, geriatric to athletic, and on those with a lot of volume change to those without volume change.  We’ve found that even those who do not fluctuate in volume (less than 2 ply per day) love the ability to micro-adjust the socket fit in real-time, as well as benefit from all of the other great attributes of this socket design.

The Socket-less Socket™ accommodates for a large amount of volume change because its fit is user-adjustable.  In some cases a ‘sock-ply equivalent’ of 10-20 ply up or down will still maintain a more comfortable socket fit.  In conventional sockets, the comfort of the fit quickly degrades as the limb size changes.  The Socket-less Socket™ however should largely remain more comfortable up until the time a new socket is fabricated.

Yes, the Socket-less Socket™ works excellent with short limbs.  We’ve successfully fit several above the knee users who have femur lengths as short as 3” to 4”.  Some of these users could have been fit as a hip disarticulation level since the femur was so short.  But since our socket can so effectively capture the underlying femur, it can provide greater limb control than a conventional rigid bucket socket.   For below the knee users with short limbs, we often select a socket configuration that uses specific suspension and tissue containment methods that provide added stability for the short limbs.

Yes, the Socket-less Socket™ works excellent with long limb lengths.  It’s breathability makes the limb feel considerably cooler than in conventional sockets. The Socket-less Socket™ wraps around the limb, versus the soft tissue having to be pushed or pulled into a contained bucket, and its conformity allows the socket to match to the user every time it is donned.  The open structure of the Socket-less Socket™ overcomes the challenges of Symes level fittings where a bulbous distal end often makes conventional socket fittings difficult.

Yes, the same advantages that the Socket-less Socket™ uniquely offers for unilateral amputees benefits bilateral amputees just the same – cooler, lighter, simpler to donn, and more comfortable.

Yes, the Socket-less Socket™ is simple to donn in sitting or in standing, and does not require pushing or pulling soft tissue into a contained bucket as conventional sockets require.  If an end-user is able to tie their shoes, they should be able to donn the Socket-less Socket™ designs with ease.

The Socket-less Socket™ can be fit to users ranging in sizes from pediatric to adult, petite to obese, and short limbs to long.  The standard configuration accommodates users up to 250 pounds, although custom configurations for considerably heavier (250 lb+) users are also available.

Our NASA-inspired lightweight design and materials are only a fraction of what conventional sockets weigh – with a typical weight reduction of around 2 pounds for an AK socket. With any of our socket levels, you’ll be amazed at how light a socket can feel.

Yes, all of our sockets use the industry standard connection methods compatible with any foot, knee, or hip prosthetic components.

The gel liner type will be selected based on the type of suspension and tissue management method that will be used for the fitting.  You can integrate any form of suspension within the Socket-less Socket™, including pin, lanyard, SharkSkin Suspension, suction, vacuum, Velcro, or Lateral Stabilizer (Silesian belt replacement).  In general, using a liner with integrated matrix will provide additional tissue management within the socket’s open structure, which many users prefer.

There is not one best suspension system for everyone, as each users’ needs and preferences are unique.  Many of the Socket-less Socket™ fittings benefit from using either pin or lanyards, although you can also successfully use suction, vacuum, Velcro, Lateral Stabilizer (Silesian belt replacement), or SharkSkin™ Suspension.  The unique modularity allows for various forms of suspension to be evaluated during the fitting process to help you decide which is best for you.

 In most cases the Sharkskin™ alone will not provide adequate suspension, however most users prefer the feel of SharkSkin™ in addition to other forms of suspension, as it helps distribute the suspension forces 360 degrees around the limb and makes the socket feel more secure.  Most fittings will use a pin or lanyard as primary suspension, though you can also use suction, vacuum, Velcro, or others.  The modularity of the Socket-less Socket™ technology allows you to modularly try various forms of suspension in real-time during the fitting process.

The Socket-less Socket™ is designed to provide long lasting durability and comfort.  Its materials are designed to hold up to high-activity users, and the conforming materials allow the socket to match to the underlying body every time it is donned, allowing the socket to remain comfortable for longer.

The conformable materials used in the Socket-less Socket™ have a long life expectancy.  The SwingBrim™ webbing for instance is designed and rated for nearly 5000 pounds of force and is similar to the webbing used in seatbelts.  We see very few durability related issues, but if something were to break, our unique modularity allows the socket to be repaired quickly and easily and is often field serviceable even if away from your prosthetist.

More importantly, the socket should remain comfortable for much longer than a traditional socket, as it is user-adjustable to match the socket to the user, versus the user’s limb having to match to a static piece of plastic.  The human body is very dynamic, and making the socket’s fit dynamic provides a longer lasting comfortable fit.

Martin Bionics offers the Socket-less Socket™ technologies exclusively through trained clinical prosthetists in the U.S.  However, our socket technologies are incredibly simple to fit, and we’ve even trained laymen in developing nations to fit our long-lasting comfortable sockets on those who otherwise do not have access to prosthetists or prosthetic sockets.

Martin Bionics was invited by NASA to transition our work in fabric-socket technology into the Space Program to help NASA connect exoskeleton robotics with astronauts in a more comfortable way.  Our success on that program lead to being invited to play a role on two additional exoskeletal robotics programs with NASA, where we lead the physical man/machine connectivity aspect of those projects.  Martin Bionics created and discovered some fascinating new materials and methods during those programs, which we have since transitioned into a new way of fitting clinical prosthetics. The specific mesh material of our Fabric Inner Socket is made of the same unique blend as was used in the NASA programs.  It’s design enables it to very effectively conform to the 3-dimensional body, yet is incredibly lightweight, durable, and breathable.

 The Socket-less Socket™ is typically lower profile than a conventional socket, although the surface is not smooth.  Most users find that even under tight fitting clothes the socket is not noticeable.