A continuous loading apparatus for measuring three-dimensional stiffness of ankle-foot orthoses

Paolo Cappa, Fabrizio Patanè, Giuseppe Di Rosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper describes a novel device to evaluate the mechanical properties of ankle foot orthoses (AFOs). The apparatus permits the application to AFOs of continuous three-dimensional (3D) movements between specified and settable endpoints. Using an x-y robot with a rotary stage and a six-component load cell, characteristic displacement versus reaction force curves can be generated and consequently the ankle moments can be determined as a function of dorsi/plantar flexion, inv/eversion and int/external rotation. Representative curves for two polypropylene lateral leaf AFOs, different in shape but produced for the same leg by a skilled orthotist, are presented to illustrate the capabilities of the novel testing system. The metrological investigation showed that the apparatus creates a highly repeatable data set (uncertainty ≤1% FSO).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1029
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biophysics

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