Comprehensive analysis of energy storing prosthetic feet: Flex Foot and Seattle Foot Versus Standard SACH foot

J F Lehmann, R Price, S Boswell-Bessette, A Dralle, K Questad, B J deLateur
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 1993, 74 (11): 1225-31
This study compared the mechanical and biomechanical functions, metabolic demand, and shock absorption of two dynamic elastic response (DER) prosthetic foot designs with the SACH foot. Nine individuals who had undergone unilateral below knee amputation were studied. Mechanical properties of the feet were related to gait biomechanics. Forefoot compliance is greatest for the Flex Foot and least for the SACH foot, hence, Flex Foot demonstrates (1) the longest midstance phase, (2) the greatest ankle angle range, and (3) greater forward movement of the center of pressure. There was some evidence that the DER feet produced a better push-off. However, neither the self-selected walking speed nor the metabolic rate or efficiency over a spectrum of walking speeds (73 to 120m/min) and running speeds (140 to 200m/min) was significantly different. Because no energy savings resulted for the DER feet, the release of stored energy in the flexible feet may not occur at the proper time to assist in ambulation as a result of the natural frequency of oscillation.

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