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
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.