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A quantitative analysis of optimum design for rigid ankle foot orthoses: the effect of thickness and reinforcement design on stiffness.

CHATZISTERGOS, Panagiotis, EDDISON, Nicola, Ganniari-Papageorgiou, Evangelia and CHOCKALINGAM, Nachiappan (2023) A quantitative analysis of optimum design for rigid ankle foot orthoses: the effect of thickness and reinforcement design on stiffness. Prosthetics & Orthotics International. ISSN 0309-3646

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Abstract or description

Aim: An ankle foot orthosis (AFO) which is prescribed to be rigid should only deform a small amount to achieve its clinical goals. Material thickness and the design of reinforcing features can significantly affect AFO rigidity, but their selection remains based on anecdotal evidence. This study aims to quantify the effect of these parameters on AFO stiffness and to set the basis for quantitative guidelines for the design optimisation of rigid AFOs.

Methods: A polypropylene AFO was produced according to UK standard practice and its stiffness was experimentally measured for 30Nm of dorsiflexion. Its geometry and mechanical characteristics were utilised to create a finite element (FE) model of a typical AFO prescribed to be rigid. Following validation, the model was used to quantify the effect of material thickness and reinforcement design (i.e., reinforcement placement, length) on stiffness. A final set of AFO samples was produced to experimentally confirm key findings.

Results and conclusions: For a specific AFO geometry and loading magnitude, there is a thickness threshold below which the AFO cannot effectively resist flexion and buckles. FE modelling showed that stiffness is maximised when reinforcements are placed at the anterior-most position possible. This key finding was also experimentally confirmed. The stiffness of an AFO reinforced according to standard practice with lateral and medial ribbing was 4.4Nm/deg±0.1Nm/deg. Instructing the orthotic technician to move the ribbings anteriorly increased stiffness by 22%. Further stiffening is achieved by ensuring the reinforcements extend from the footplate to at least two-thirds of the AFO’s total height.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Panagiotis CHATZISTERGOS
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2023 10:43
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 01:38

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