The Design and Development of a Trans-tibial Prosthetic System for use in Low Income Countries

Leona Morton

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


The prosthetic systems currently in use in developing countries have inadequacies concerning durability. The purpose of this project was to design and develop a low cost prosthetic system, suitable for use in developing countries, and test it to ISO standards as part of the new product development process.

A prosthetic foot, shank and alignment couple were designed and evaluated using the finite element method. Prototypes of the components were manufactured using rapid prototyping techniques for the purpose of functional testing. Static and dynamic tests were based on the ISO 10328:2006 structural testing of lower-limb prostheses protocol. All static tests were carried out using an Instron universal test machine, and dynamic tests were performed with a Zwick and Maye test facility. The load-deflection characteristics of the prosthetic components were determined from each test.

The keel was injection moulded so that a patient assessment of the prosthetic foot could be carried out with one trans-tibial amputee. A Kistler force platform and Vicon camera system were used to determine the gait parameters of the patient from a series of walking trials. Patient feedback was collected from a questionnaire.

Mechanical tests on the foot component were successful. The patient evaluation confirmed that the properties of the foot provide good gait mechanics. Functional testing with the shank and alignment components highlighted that the shank-socket interface is a critical region of the prosthesis.

The inclusion of functional testing during the design process has led to the development of a foot that is suitable for use in both the developed and developing world.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Buis, Arjan, Supervisor
  • Spence, William, Supervisor
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • prosthetics
  • components
  • composites
  • prosthetic feet
  • finite element
  • product design
  • instron
  • ISO
  • lowincome countries
  • BOP


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