The evaluation of mechanical behavior of plastic Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO) is important since AFO can provide an efficient support to patients with disabilities in locomotion. This paper reports on a novel testing apparatus that allows: (a) the evaluation of AFO stiffness in sagittal and frontal planes; (b) the conduction of semi-automatic trials; and, finally, (c) a global accuracy associated to the AFO stiffness values always less than 4%. The stiffness values are determined by the measurements of the imposed relative displacements between the foot and the shank of the orthosis and the induced reaction forces. The data collected together in an exact 2-D approach, together with those provided by gait analysis systems, allows to better understand gait alteration induced by ankle orthosis, and to improve clinical management of patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering