The Science Behind Prosthetic Foot Design and Gait Cycle
The human foot comprises 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and 107 ligaments. Both feet make up 25 percent of the bones in the body. Physiologically, the human foot gets its strength and rigidity from the skeleton, tendons provide alignment and strength, and the foot muscles absorb and release the energy that provides locomotion when signaled by the brain. In the case of an amputee, the limb directs the energy to the prosthesis, which in turn should replicate the movement of a natural foot in the gait cycle.
The Niagara Foot (now in its next generation named the Rhythm Foot) is designed specifically for individuals with active lifestyles and those who walk on rugged ground. Energy release and reabsorption are critical elements in the biomechanics of the foot. Hytrel®, with its stiff yet flexible properties, was able to provide the fluid motion required for an affordable, durable and comfortable prosthetic foot.