Evaluation of various design concepts in passive ankle-foot orthoses using finite element analysis
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CitationSurmen, H. K., Arslan, Y. Z. (2021). Evaluation of various design concepts in passive ankle-foot orthoses using finite element analysis. Engineering Science and Technology, an International Journal.
Ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) are typically prescribed to improve the gait function of ambulatory children with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Due to the excessive and repetitive loading conditions, plastic material deformation can be observed in AFOs, especially over the lateral and medial parts of the ankle, which limits the effect of AFOs in the stabilization of the ankle joint. Trimline design and severity influence the rotational stiffness of an AFO considerably. In this study, we proposed novel trimming approaches for AFOs such that the trimlines were performed on the dorsal side rather than lateral and medial sides to reduce the magnitude of peak stresses and provide a homogenous stress distribution over AFOs. We analyzed eight dorsal trimline designs having different basic geometries by using the finite element method. To objectively evaluate the stress levels, the same boundary and loading conditions were considered for all design alternatives. We found that low peak stress values were observed in the AFO models with trimline geometries of the circle, ellipse, and slot variations. The vertical elliptic trimline on the dorsal side of the AFO was the most effective to decrease the magnitude of the peak stresses. The findings of our study are expected to contribute a complementary solution to orthotists in the fabrication of AFOs with high durability.