These feet are made for walking

New prosthetic foot improves gait

A new prosthetic foot that improves gait and balance in amputees has been developed at Tufts University in Boston. The device, called a rolling-joint foot (RJF), mimics how a biological foot works, says inventorMark R. Pitkin, research assistant professor of bioengineering at Tufts School of Medicine.

Current prosthetic feet are good at shock absorption and propulsion but do not imitate the natural foot’s resistance, making the gait unnatural, he says. His device gives resistance only when the amputee needs it and allows for progressive build-up of resistance. The Ohio Willow Wood Co. in Mount Sterling is working to resolve technical issues before producing the RJF commercially.