The Highly Efficient Energetic Locomotion foot is an anatomically inspired prothetic foot: By mimmicking the windlass effect (which causes the forefoot to rotate downward with a -relative- upward rotation of the big toe) a more natural extension (plantarflexion) of the prosthetic foot is established during the end of the prosthetic stance phase. This results in a longer and better support of the prosthetic/ orthotic walker giving -at least- the perception of more comforable and energy efficient prosthetic walking.
With the windlass effect in an anatomic foot actually being caused by a multi-articular action of tendons one immediatally wonders whether or not restoring the bi-articular action of the calf musculature has a simmilar positive effect for the amputee.
Expecting reduced loading of the residual limb as well as a more natural transfer of energy from the prosthesis to the remaining healthy structures with restoring the bi-articular action of the calf musculature, the researchers set out to equip a standard PTB socket with an orthosis through which the plantar-flexing-action-loads are directly transferred from the prosthetic foot to the upper leg of a lower leg amputee.
Case studies in a laboratory environment again -at least- suggest that restoring this functionality results in more comforable and energy efficient prosthetic walking.
For a more elaborate discussion on the design process, clinical trials and how the ideas can be applied in orthosis design, please click the link below: