Posted July 10, 2019
David Morgenroth, M.D., VA Puget Sound Health Care System, University of Washington, and Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research, Seattle, WA

Dr. David Morgenroth

Dr. David Morgenroth

As the recipient of a Fiscal Year 2015 Prosthetics Outcomes Research – Funding Level 2 Award, Dr. David Morgenroth and his team are seeking to improve the mobility of individuals with lower limb amputation by optimizing the process of prescribing prosthetic feet. They are studying a patient-centered “test-drive” strategy to improve prosthetic foot prescription using a customizable, robotic prosthetic foot that mimics the mechanical properties of commercially available prosthetic feet through software control. This “prosthetic foot emulator” can provide individuals with leg amputations the opportunity to “test-drive” many prosthetic foot designs within a single test session. Study participants are given a chance to walk under a variety of environmental terrains including slopes, stairs, and on flat ground at different speeds. After laboratory testing, participants wear each of the actual prosthetic feet for normal activity for 2 weeks and return to the laboratory for re-evaluation. The study will compare mobility measures and users’ preference for emulated feet to their mobility measures and preference for the actual prosthetic to ensure that the emulation is accurately capturing the experience of wearing and using commercial feet. By allowing patients a chance to offer valuable experiential feedback during the prescription process, this study has the potential to provide meaningful benefit to clinicians, as well as to Service members and Veterans with leg amputations. Patients who are engaged in medical decision making are known to have better outcomes; allowing patients to participate and offer experiential feedback during the prosthetic foot prescription process, using either the emulator or a brief trial of commercial prosthetic feet, has great potential to enable increased patient satisfaction, walking ability, and achievement of functional goals.

Dr. Morgenroth's figure

Figure 1: The panel on the left is a schematic representation of the prosthetic foot emulator, including the experimenter interface, prosthesis controller, prosthesis end-effector, transmission and tether, and actuator unit with drive pulley, servo drive and servo motor.  The panel on the right is a photograph of the prosthesis end effector worn by an individual with a below-knee amputation.


Public and Technical Abstracts: A Prosthetic Foot Emulator to Optimize Prescription of Prosthetic Feet in Veterans and Service Members with Leg Amputations

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Last updated Thursday, May 26, 2022