Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)


Biomedical Engineering Committee

First Advisor

R. S. Sodhi

Second Advisor

David S. Kristol

Third Advisor

Joseph Ellis Kopf


Because people with physical disabilities have shown an interest in participation in sports, a new class of prosthetic feet known as "energy storing prosthetic feet" has been developed. These new developments in prosthetic foot design utilize energy storage and return to improve ambulation. This thesis reviews the design, materials, advantages and disadvantages of various energy storing prosthetic feet. Research studies, comparing gait in below-knee amputees using different prosthetic designs, can be applied to the design of prosthetic feet that are lighter, stronger and more reliable. Comparisions among these feet are reviewed in the context of functional capability and patient satisfaction. This study indicates a significant improvement in the amputees overall function with the use of energy storing prosthetic feet compared to the conventional feet.

In this thesis, a model of a below-knee prosthesis is constructed and its response to two different loading conditions studied by finite element stress analysis using the Computer Aided Engineering package of IDEAS. The main criterion in the design of a prosthesis is a balance between minimizing stress and weight, for a required level of functional capability. The effect of different geometry, material properties and loading conditions on minimizing the weight of the prosthesis and on stress distribution within the prosthesis is determined. An optimal prosthesis with minimum weight is designed for use by geriatric amputees.



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