The Northwestern University sub-ischial socket: A journey from idea to development, research, dissemination, and implementation
Our journey to develop a sub-ischial socket for persons with transfemoral amputation began about 15 years ago sparked by an idea that had its roots in the clinical practice of my colleague and collaborator Ryan Caldwell. This idea and partnership between a clinician and a researcher launched us on a journey that led to United States Department of Defense funding for development of what became a straightforward and standardized sub-ischial socket technique that can be taught to prosthetists. Since then, we have engaged in dissemination activities aimed at translating this technique into practice in parallel with conducting clinical trials aimed at exploring the efficacy and effectiveness of the sub-ischial socket technique. Dissemination has taken many forms, including presentations at conferences and meetings, publications in peer reviewed journals and trade magazines, and conducting hands-on workshops for prosthetists all around the world. Our experience with these efforts illustrates the breadth of activities required of clinicians and investigators to see their research ideas implemented in clinical practice. Sustained effort is required to accomplish this and it is not without challenges. I hope that our journey inspires others to merge clinical creativity with science and research to influence clinical practice for the benefit of all prosthesis and orthosis users.