Analysis of human gait using various devices for offloading the foot and ankle
Yinon Tal & Dana Solav
Crutches are currently the standard of care for millions of people who cannot load their ankle or foot due to fractures, surgeries, Charcot’s foot, diabetic foot ulcers, CPRS, etc. However, crutch gait is often slow, energetically inefficient, overstrains the rest of the body, restricts the function of the upper extremities, and causes secondary injuries in prolonged use. In this study, alternative devices to crutches are investigated, namely the iWalk and several types of ankle foot orthoses (AFOs), which allow patients to walk more naturally while eliminating the weight bearing on the affected foot and ankle, and not restricting the upper extremities. We conduct a comparative biomechanical study, where gait kinematic and kinetic parameters are measured using an optoelectronic motion capture system while participants walk with each device. Analysis of these measurements will help us understand the effects of the different devices on human gait and advance the design of improved devices.