A lower-limb prosthesis is the mechanical device with which an amputee's residual limb interacts with the walking surface. The pressure and shear forces that affect the residuum due to prosthesis use are the sources of pain, residuallimb skin problems and gait deviations. Direct approaches to reducing these problems include improving fit, alignment technique and socket design as well as increasing cushioning with socket liners.
A summary of typical malalignments and their consequences is presented. The malalignments are considered sources of excessive moments applied to the residuum, which simplifies the analysis of a patient's gait. A better design of prosthetic joints could improve prosthetic gait.
This article addresses the key mechanical parameter of prosthetic joints, namely the dependence “moment of resistance/angle of deflection.” A mathematical model has been developed that links stresses on the residuum in transtibial amputees with the moment of resistance in the prosthetic ankle at the critical gait phases. Analysis of the model yields a substantial decrease in stresses on the residuum during the most demanding, load-bearing phase of stance if the moment of resistance in the ankle is similar to that seen in the biological ankle joint. Gait study shows use of the experimental rolling-joint prosthetic foot more closely simulates normal gait synergy than the SACH foot.
© 1997 American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists