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Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 2012 Jan;226(1):70-5.

Finite element modelling of an energy-storing prosthetic foot during the stance phase of transtibial amputee gait.

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Arts et Metiers ParisTech, Laboratoire de Biomecanique, 151 bd de l'hôpital 75013 Paris, France.


Energy-storing prosthetic feet are designed to store energy during mid-stance motion and to recover it during late-stance motion. Gait analysis is the most commonly used method to characterize prosthetic foot behaviour during walking. In using this method, however, the foot is generally modelled as a rigid body. Therefore, it does not take into account the ability of the foot to deform. However, the way this deformation occurs is a key parameter of various foot properties under gait conditions. The purpose of this study is to combine finite element modelling and gait analysis in order to calculate the strain, stress and energy stored in the foot along the stance phase for self-selected and fast walking speeds. A finite element model, validated using mechanical testing, is used with boundary conditions collected experimentally from the gait analysis of a single transtibial amputee. The stress, strain and energy stored in the foot are assessed throughout the stance phase for two walking speed conditions: a self-selected walking speed (SSWS), and a fast walking speed (FWS). The first maximum in the strain energy occurs during heel loading and reaches 3J for SSWS and 7J for FWS at the end of the first double support phase. The second maximum appears at the end of the single support phase, reaching 15J for SSWS and 18J for FWS. Finite element modelling combined with gait analysis allows the calculation of parameters that are not obtainable using gait analysis alone. This modelling can be used in the process of prosthetic feet design to assess the behaviour of a prosthetic foot under specific gait conditions.

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