Prosthetic foot wearers show preference for moderate activity feet

September 23, 2013.

ORLANDO, Fla. — In a multicenter, interdisciplinary study of prosthetic feet, users expressed a preference for prosthetic feet with a specific biomechanical characteristic, according to a presenter here at the O&P World Congress.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show that amputees do show preferences for specific aspects of prosthetic foot performance characteristics that can relate to the mechanical design of the foot,” said Silvia U. Raschke, PhD,  project leader at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Raschke’s presentation was the Thranhardt Lecture award winner.

One female and 12 male transtibial amputees participated in ambulation sessions with their prescribed feet as baseline. An unblinded prosthetist then fit the study feet, covering them with a black sock so the wearers and a second blinded prosthetist who recorded the data could not discern the design. Other researchers except Raschke were also blinded.

An average of 6 of 11 study feet were assigned to each of the amputees for testing. After walking indoors and answering a questionnaire, wearers were fit with two feet for community ambulation. The amputees spent a week doing usual activities on each foot, and then completed a modified questionnaire while researchers compiled data on their use.

Data analysis revealed that amputees preferred feet that were more flexible; typically, these were medium activity, energy-storing feet.

“They don’t require as much energy as a high performance foot, but they give some energy return, and the amputees reported getting a comfortable ride on those feet,” Raschke said.

Overall, amputees did not like passive, non-energy returning feet.

 

 

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