Researchers attempting to validate the application of a 3D printing technique as a fabrication method for creating carbon fiber composite reinforced prosthetic feet found that the technique has the potential to serve as a low-cost alternative to carbon fiber prosthetic feet.
The research team first constructed a testing apparatus capable of loading prosthetic feet in dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. Load displacement data was gathered, and energy analyses were conducted. The 3D-printed feet were compared to a Freedom Innovations Renegade MX carbon fiber foot and a SACH foot.
The results indicated that the 3D-printed feet achieved energy profiles that were similar, and in some cases preferable, to the energy profiles of the comparisons, according to the study’s authors. The stiffness profiles of the 3D-printed feet varied widely and depended greatly on the design of the feet, as well as the amount and location of the fiber reinforcement.
The study, “Examining the viability of carbon fiber reinforced three-dimensionally printed prosthetic feet created by composite filament fabrication,” was published online July 5 in Prosthetics and Orthotics International.