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Passive and Active Shock Absorbing Prostheses for Lower Limb Amputees

[+] Author Affiliations
Eric B. Howell, Glenn Klute

Puget Sound Health Systems

Santosh Devasia

University of Washington

Paper No. IMECE2005-81286, pp. 627-636; 10 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Dynamic Systems and Control, Parts A and B
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4216-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Excessive transient forces arising from foot-ground during gait can be related to increased incidence of degenerative joint disease, residual limb blisters and ulceration, muscle tears, stress fractures, and chronic low back pain. For the lower extremity amputee with only residual capacity to attenuate transient forces, effective protective interventions are an essential element of the prosthetic prescription. To facilitate understanding of the components and design variables that may influence shock absorption, a lumped parameter model simulating the movement of the human body, prosthetic components, and footwear for the first 150 ms following initial foot-ground contact is developed in conjunction with a cost function relating dose, magnitude and frequency with adverse health effects. The prosthetic foot was found to have the greatest potential for attenuating impact forces compared to the pylon and socket liner. Using the model to explore the design space, optimal passive designs were able to reduce the adverse-health-effects, cost function by 20% from those of seven different, commercially available, prosthetic feet. Optimal passive designs at the pylon and socket liner produced smaller reductions in cost while at the same time creating undesirably large displacements that could potentially lead to asymmetrical gait and secondary disabilities. While optimal passive designs were able to provide a significant cost reduction over existing prosthetic feet, further exploration of the design space reveals active shock absorbing feet have the potential to reduce the adverse health effects cost function by 57%.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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