Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 47 Number 6, 2010
   Pages 543 — 552

Abstract —  Effects of prosthetic foot forefoot flexibility on oxygen cost and subjective preference rankings of unilateral transtibial prosthesis users

Elizabeth Klodd, MS;1 Andrew Hansen, PhD;2-3* Stefania Fatone, PhD;3-4 Mark Edwards, MHPE, CP4-5

1Liberating Technologies Incorporated, Holliston, MA; 2Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN; 3Northwestern University Prosthetics Research Laboratory & Rehabilitation Engineering Research Program; Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; 4Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center; Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; 5Otto Bock HealthCare, Minneapolis, MN

Abstract —  The investigators conducted a double-blind randomized crossover study to determine the effects of prosthetic foot forefoot flexibility on oxygen cost and subjective preference rankings of 13 unilateral transtibial prosthesis users. Five experimental feet were fabricated for use in the study: F1, F2, F3, F4, and F5. F1 was most flexible, F5 was least flexible, and F3 was designed to conform to a biomimetic ankle-foot roll-over shape. The experimental feet were modeled after the Shape&Roll prosthetic foot (originally produced by Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; now in public domain) but had different numbers of saw cuts within the forefoot members, allowing more or less flexibility during walking. Participants walked at the same comfortable, freely selected speed on the treadmill for 7 min with each foot while energy expenditure was measured. No significant difference was found in oxygen cost (mL O2/kg/m) between the different feet (p = 0.17), and the order of use was also not significant (p = 0.94). However, the preference ranking was significantly affected by the flexibility of the feet (p = 0.002), with the most flexible foot (F1) ranking significantly poorer than feet F3 (p = 0.003) and F4 (p = 0.004). Users may prefer prosthetic feet that match the flexibility of an intact ankle-foot system, even though we did not detect an energetic benefit at freely selected speeds.

Key words: artificial leg, artificial limb, biomechanics, energy expenditure, foot, leg prosthesis, oxygen cost, prosthesis, trans-tibial, treadmill.


This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Klodd E, Hansen A, Fatone S, Edwards M. Effects of prosthetic foot forefoot flexibility on oxygen cost and subjective preference rankings of unilateral transtibial prosthesis users. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2010;47(6):543-52.
DOI:10.1682/JRRD.2010.01.0003


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