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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D
Volume 41 Number 6A, November/December 2004
Pages 775 — 786


Finite-element analysis to determine effect of monolimb flexibility on structural strength and interaction between residual limb and prosthetic socket

Winson C. C. Lee, BSc; Ming Zhang, PhD; David A. Boone, CP, BS, MPH; Bill Contoyannis, MEngSc

Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China; REHABTech, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Abstract — Monolimb refers to a kind of transtibial prostheses having the socket and shank molded into one piece of thermoplastic material. One of its characteristics is that the shank is made of a material that can deform during walking, which can simulate ankle joint motion to some extent. Changes in shank geometry can alter the stress distribution within the monolimb and at the residual limb-socket interface and, respectively, affect the deformability and structural integrity of the prosthesis and comfort perceived by amputees. This paper describes the development of a finite-element model for the study of the structural behavior of monolimbs with different shank designs and the interaction between the limb and socket during walking. The von Mises stress distributions in monolimbs with different shank designs at different walking phases are reported. With the use of distortion energy theory, possible failure was predicted. The effect of the stiffness of the monolimb shanks on the stress distribution at the limb-socket interface was studied. The results show a trend-the peak stress applied to the limb was lowered as the shank stiffness decreased. This information is useful for future monolimb optimization.

Key words: finite-element analysis, interface pressure, interface shear stress, monolimb, shank flexibility, structural integrity, transtibial prosthesis.

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