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  • A new leg-prosthesis to improve the lateral balance of amputees

    The gait of amputees is different from that of normal healthy individuals. The combination of adding a passive aid and a lack of active control over this aid leads to certain restrictions.
    One of those is the inability to move the pressure point underneath the foot during walking with a prosthesis (Hof e.a., 2007).

    This is caused by a lack of ankle control in the prosthetic foot leading to problems in the lateral balance. In trying to compensate for those restrictions in balance control amputees adapt their gait parameters (Schmid e.a., 2005; Hof e.a., 2007). They stand on the intact leg longer and their step is wider on the side of the prosthesis. They also bend the upper body towards the side of the prosthesis (Jaegers e.a., 1995). This can be explained from the joint moments aimed at achieving a lateral force under the foot (Otten, 1999).

    Prototype of the patented mechanism

    Prototype of the patented mechanism

    Aim of this project:

    The central aim in to design and implementation of the prototype is to improve the lateral balance control of amputees. Lateral balance control differs greatly between normal gait and the gait of an amputee, because the prosthesis does not contain nerves or muscles which could actively control this. Additionally, a prosthesis introduces its own dynamics and restrictions that the amputee has to come to terms with.