The use of a direct manufacturing prosthetic socket system in a rural community in South Africa: a pilot study and lessons for future research
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BACKGROUND: Challenges exist with the provision of appropriate mobility assistive devices in rural areas. The use of the direct manufacturing prosthetic socket system is a possible solution to these challenges. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to test and explore the clients’ perspectives with the application of this device. Study design: Within a mixed-methods approach, a longitudinal sequential explanatory design was applied. METHODS: The Orthotic and Prosthetic User’s Survey was administered to explore the use of the direct manufacturing prosthetic socket system in terms of function, health-related quality of life and client satisfaction. A conveniently selected sample of 21 individuals who suffered a unilateral trans-tibial amputation was included. Data were collected at 1, 3 and 6 months post fitting, and two focus group discussions were also administered. RESULTS: Of the 21 participants recruited, 11 returned for follow up. Although participants reported favourably about the prosthesis, their scores were generally worse than the norms with regard to function and quality of life. Participants highlighted the need for improvement in the cosmetic appearance of the prosthesis. CONCLUSION: The direct manufacturing prosthetic socket system could be considered as an alternative technique of socket manufacturing for individuals living in rural areas due to the shorter manufacture time and promising initial results, but further research on this topic with a bigger sample is recommended.