A collaborative effort between Orthotic & Prosthetic Design (OPD), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and Washington University School of Medicine, Program in Physical Therapy, has received a grant of more than $185,000 to develop an offloading carbon composite AFO. The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R41DK109731) funded the grant.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for us to introduce new, cutting-edge treatment options to the market,” said Michael Dailey, CO, MBA, vice president of OPD and the study’s principal investigator.
The purpose of the project is to determine the characteristics that are most important in creating the best brace for each individual. The study will create and utilize new finite element analysis models and algorithms to predict the appropriate design for each individual. “Creating and testing the design on the computer will save tremendous time, money, and the hassle of return visits for brace modifications,” said Dailey.
Preliminary and initial in-shoe pressure testing demonstrated a 70 percent plantar pressure offloading when using the prototype carbon composite AFO design.
The group will spend the next year developing, testing, and refining carbon composite brace designs with an aim toward subsequent research focusing on this family of devices.