Using a Simple Walking Model to Optimize Transfemoral Prostheses for Prosthetic Limb Stability - A Preliminary Study

Anna Pace*, David Howard, Steven A. Gard, Matthew J. Major

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interaction between the prescribed prosthetic knee and foot is critical to the safety of transfemoral prosthesis users primarily during the stance phase of the gait, when knee buckling can result in a fall. Nonetheless, there is still a need for standardized approaches to quantify the effects of prosthetic component interactions and associated mechanical function on user gait biomechanics. A numerical model was defined to simulate sagittal plane prosthetic limb stance based on a single inverted pendulum and predict effects of prosthetic knee alignment and foot stiffness on knee moment to identify optimal solutions. Model validation against laboratory gait data suggests it is appropriate to preliminary simulate prosthetic gait during single-limb support, when prosthetic knee stability may be most at risk given reliance on the prosthetic limb and proximal anatomy, but only for knees with flexion smaller than 4°. Model predictions identify a solution space containing those combinations of knee alignment and foot stiffness (via roll-over shape radius) guaranteeing knee stability in early and mid- single-limb support, whilst facilitating knee break at the end of it. Specifically, a posterior to in-line knee alignment should be combined with low to medium ankle-foot stiffness, whereas anterior knee alignments and rigid feet should likely be avoided. Clinicians can use these solution spaces to optimize transfemoral prostheses including knees with little to no change in stance flexion, ensuring the safety of users. Model prediction can further inform in-vivo investigations on commercial device interactions, providing evidence for future Clinical Practice Guidelines on transfemoral prostheses design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9281374
Pages (from-to)3005-3012
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Ankle-foot mechanisms
  • biomechanics
  • design
  • knee alignment
  • prosthesis
  • roll-over
  • simulation
  • transfemoral
  • walking model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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