Format of Original
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Finite element analysis was used to investigate the stress distribution between the residual limb and prosthetic socket of persons with transtibial amputation (TTA). The purpose of this study was to develop a tool to provide a quantitative estimate of prosthetic interface pressures to improve our understanding of residual limb/prosthetic socket biomechanics and prosthetic fit. FE models of the residual limb and prosthetic socket were created. In contrast to previous FE models of the prosthetic socket/residual limb system, these models were not based on the geometry of a particular individual, but instead were based on a generic, geometric approximation of the residual limb. These models could then be scaled for the limbs of specific individuals. The material properties of the bulk soft tissues of the residual limb were based upon local in vivo indentor studies. Significant effort was devoted toward the validation of these generic, geometric FE models; prosthetic interface pressures estimated via the FE model were compared to experimentally determined interface pressures for several persons with TTA in a variety of socket designs and static load/alignment states. The FE normal stresses were of the same order of magnitude as the measured stresses (0-200 kPa); however, significant differences in the stress distribution were observed. Although the generic, geometric FE models do not appear to accurately predict the stress distribution for specific subjects, the models have practical applications in comparative stress distribution studies.