There are many different models and makes of prosthetic feet on the market for amputees to choose from. Some are made of plastic while others are comprised of metal or carbon-fibre. Whatever they may be made of, they all have one thing in common: they need to be well fit and appropriate for the amputee.
The Different Kinds of Functionalities of Prosthetic Feet
We will be discussing the three different kinds of prosthetic feet in terms of functionality, namely:
Basic Prosthetic Feet
These kinds of prosthetic feet are unmoving. There are two main types: the Solid Ankle Cushioned Heel (SACH) and the elastic keel. They need little repair and tend to last for a long time without hinged parts that wear out, which places them amongst the most affordable foot prosthetics on the market. These are ideal for patients who do little walking and do so at a constant speed. It is often used as “training wheels” for patients who will eventually upgrade to more advanced prosthetic feet.
The SACH is the more basic of the two kinds, and due to a rubber heel wedge that supports the user’s weight it does not bend. It does, however, provide stability despite its limited lateral movement. It also comes with different heel heights so that it is compatible with multiple styles of shoes. These are made of rubber and are often shaped to aesthetically mimic a human foot.
Elastic keel feet are somewhat more flexible than the SACH, allowing for the front of the prosthetic foot to adjust during various walking conditions. It also remains rigid when standing for added support.
Articulated Prosthetic Feet
There are two kinds of articulated prosthetic feet options: single-axis and multi-axis prosthetic feet. Both of these allow for motion that mimics that of a human foot.
Single-axis prosthetic feet sport an ankle joint which makes the knee more stable and keeps it from buckling under the user’s weight, which is useful for amputees with above the knee amputations.
Multi-axis feet move up and down, like the single-axis design, as well as from side to side. With the extended range of movement the multi-axis feet provide they can better adapt to uneven surfaces, with the ankle motion absorbing the stress of walking on uneven surfaces.
The flexile keel of the dynamic-response feet allows for a balanced gait and normal range of motion along with the sensation of “pushing off” when walking. The split-toe design adds stability while the responsive nature of the design allows for increased levels of activity when compared to the other kinds of prosthetic feet mentioned above.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to fitting a prosthetic foot, but with the help of a qualified prosthetic professional you will be back on your (new) feet in no time. Contact us to get the professional assistance you need when fitting your prosthetic foot.