Project: Research project

Project Details


This project deals with the problem of restoring lower limb function to
patients who require the use of a knee/ankle/foot orthosis (KAFO) for
ambulation and must have the knee locked for stability during gait. These
patients typically have neuromuscular conditions which weaken or paralyze
the hip extensors and/or the ankle plantar flexors, in addition to weakened
or paralyzed knee extensors. Currently these types of patients are usually
fitted with either a conventional long leg brace which has a knee joint
equipped with a mechanical manual lock or a free knee brace equipped with
an eccentric knee joint. These bracing schemes result in lack of movement
of the knee during the swing phase of gait, which results in an inefficient
gait. The goal of this project is to design, develop and test a small,
lightweight, electronically controlled knee joint that can be installed on
a conventional long leg brace. The knee joint will unlock during the swing
phase of gait and lock during the stance phase of gait. To accomplish this
goal, we propose to: 1) incorporate modular electronics which sense limb
loading to activate a wrap spring clutch control mechanism at the knee, 2)
evaluate the gait efficiency of patients using the proposed orthosis
through movement analysis, mechanical energy consumption, and physiological
costs of ambulation, and 3) determine the best criteria for patient
selection based on the experimental trials of this device. The results of
these studies are expected to improve the efficiency of gait in patients
requiring conventional long leg braces. This type of brace will be useful
for patients with poliomyelitis, spinal cord injuries, myopathic disorders,
congenital spinal defects, and acquired paralysis due to infections or
vascular insults.
Effective start/end date9/30/927/31/04


  • National Institutes of Health: $226,373.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $238,370.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health: $295,852.00
  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)

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