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Prosthet Orthot Int. 2013 Apr;37(2):132-8. doi: 10.1177/0309364612451269. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Gait assessment during the initial fitting of customized selective laser sintering ankle foot orthoses in subjects with drop foot.

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MOBILAB, KHKempen University College, Geel, Belgium.



Recently, additive fabrication has been proposed as a feasible engineering method for manufacturing of customized ankle foot orthoses (AFOs). Consequently, studies on safety, comfort and effectiveness are now carried out to assess the performance of such devices.


Evaluate the clinical performance of customized (selective laser sintering) SLS-AFOs on eight subjects with unilateral drop foot gait and compare to clinically accepted (polypropylene) PP-AFOs.


Active control trial.


For each subject two customized AFOs were fabricated: one SLS-AFO manufactured following an additive fabrication framework and one thermoplastic PP-AFO manufactured according to the traditional handcraft method. Clinical performance of both AFOs was evaluated during gait analysis.


A significant beneficial effect of both custom-moulded PP-AFO and customized SLS-AFO in terms of spatial temporal gait parameters and ankle kinematic parameters compared to barefoot gait of adults with drop foot gait are observed. No statistically significant difference between the effect of PP-AFO and of SLS-AFO was found in terms of spatial temporal gait parameters and ankle kinematic parameters.


AFOs manufactured through the SLS technique show performances that are at least equivalent to the handcrafted PP-AFOs commonly prescribed in current clinical practice. Clinical relevance Manufacturing personalized AFOs with selective laser sintering (SLS) in an automated production process results in decreased production time and guarantees the consistency of shape and functional characteristics over different production time points compared to the traditional manufacturing process. Moreover, it reduces the dependency of the appliance on the experience and craftsmanship of the orthopaedic technician.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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