Ankle-related ailments resulting from genetics or injury vary throughout the population and a variety of treatment methods exist to help these individuals cope with limited ankle mobility. Major ankle ailments such as tarsal coalitions and ankle arthritis cause severe ankle pain, especially on uneven surfaces, limit the range of lateral ankle motion, and often require expensive surgical treatments. Noninvasive treatments exist but none are capable of reducing ankle pain on uneven surfaces.
A device capable of maintaining a level walking surface on low-angled terrain was developed to test whether this concept would be feasible to reduce ankle moment requirements resulting from reduced lateral ankle motion on these surfaces. After three design iterations: first an orthotic, then a shoe sole, and finally a rocker/roller pin system with elastic sidewalls; two prototypes with different sidewall thickness were built. Prototype characteristics were determined using a custom test fixture, force plate, and motion capture system. Pilot testing was performed using a "wooden sandal" with thin wall prototype attached to the bottom. Data were collected using a motion capture system and results suggest the prototype could significantly reduce user ankle deflection. However, stability concerns prohibited further human trials. Therefore, a mathematical model was developed to simulate the possible effects the system would have on ankle moments on angled terrain.
A significant reduction in ankle moment was observed in the model; however this reduction was contingent upon the simplifying assumptions and boundary conditions. This would likely influence actual system performance. Future work to validate these results would include exploring the relationship between sidewall parameters (material selection, height, depth, and thickness), rocker shape redesign to alter the system stability characteristics, and in vivo testing with human participants.
|Advisor:||Minor, Mark A.|
|Commitee:||Bloswick, Donald S., Merryweather, Andrew S.|
|School:||The University of Utah|
|School Location:||United States -- Utah|
|Source:||MAI 50/01M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mechanical engineering, Kinesiology|
|Keywords:||Active shoe sole, Ankle deflection, Ankle mobility, Ankle moment, Tarsal coalition|
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