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Development of a Testing Apparatus to Quantify the Rotational Stiffness of 3D Printed Ankle-Foot Orthoses

Julia's Project


Julia is working with Boundless Biomechanical Bracing, a local AFO clinic separate from Holland Bloorview, for this project.

Ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) are commonly prescribed for a variety of cases, including stroke, osteoarthritis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, foot drop, and anatomical deformities. This variety of users require different AFO characteristics, with rotational stiffness playing a key role in AFO function. Traditional AFO manufacturing methods rely on trial-and-error to achieve the correct stiffness, while new 3D printing processes provide the opportunity to control AFO characteristics before fabrication. However, clinicians and researchers do not have a standard, reliable way to quantify the rotational stiffness of pre-existing AFOs, making it difficult to begin prescribing AFO characteristics for 3D printing new devices. Julia’s project seeks to develop an AFO testing apparatus and procedure using a commercially available universal tensile tester, which will be validated by comparing the empirical AFO performance with predicted behaviour by FEA.