Finite element modeling of the contact interface between trans-tibial residual limb and prosthetic socket

Winson C C Lee, Ming Zhang, Xiaohong Jia, Jason T M Cheung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Finite element method has been identified as a useful tool to understand the load transfer mechanics between a residual limb and its prosthetic socket. This paper proposed a new practical approach in modeling the contact interface with consideration of the friction/slip conditions and pre-stresses applied on the limb within a rectified socket. The residual limb and socket were modeled as two separate structures and their interactions were simulated using automated contact methods. Some regions of the limb penetrated into the socket because of socket modification. In the first step of the simulation, the penetrated limb surface was moved onto the inner surface of the socket and the pre-stresses were predicted. In the subsequent loading step, pre-stresses were kept and loadings were applied at the knee joint to simulate the loading during the stance phase of gait. Comparisons were made between the model using the proposed approach and the model having an assumption that the shape of the limb and the socket were the same which ignored pre-stress. It was found that peak normal and shear stresses over the regions where socket undercuts were made reduced and the stress values over other regions raised in the model having the simplifying assumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-662
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2004


  • Automatic contact
  • Finite element analysis
  • Interface pressure
  • Pre-stress
  • Prosthetic socket
  • Shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • General Psychology


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