Effects of a flat prosthetic foot rocker section on balance and mobility

Hansen, Andrew; Nickel, Eric; Medvec, Joseph; Brielmaier, Steven; Pike, Alvin; Weber, Marilyn
January 2014
Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development;2014, Vol. 51 Issue 1, p137
Academic Journal
Previous studies have shown that the effective rocker shape of the physiologic ankle-foot system during standing and fore-aft swaying is much flatter than that used during walking, which indicates a more stable base of support for the standing/swaying activity. Previous work suggests that flat regions within the effective rocker shapes of prosthetic ankle-foot systems could provide enhanced stability for standing balance tasks. An experimental prosthetic foot was altered to provide three different flat region lengths within its effective rocker shape. It was hypothesized that longer flat regions of the effective rocker shape would lead to improved standing balance outcomes and reduced walking performance for unilateral transtibial prosthesis users. However, no significant changes were seen in the balance and mobility outcomes of 12 unilateral transtibial prosthesis users when using the three prosthetic foot conditions. Subjects in the study significantly preferred prosthetic feet with relatively low to moderate flat regions over those with long flat regions. All the subjects without loss of light touch or vibratory sensation selected the prosthetic foot with the shortest flat region. More work is needed to investigate the effects of prosthetic foot properties on balance and mobility of prosthesis users.


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