Finite element modelling of a residual lower-limb in a prosthetic socket: A survey of the development in the first decade

Ming Zhang, Arthur F.T. Mak, V. C. Roberts

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


A review is presented of the existing finite element models developed from 1987 to 1996 for the biomechanics of lower-limb prostheses. Finite element analysis can be a useful tool in investigating the mechanical interaction between the residual limb and its prosthetic socket, and in computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing of prosthetic sockets. Various assumptions and simplifications are made in these models to simplify the actual problem with complex geometry, material properties, boundary and interfacial conditions, as well as loading situations. The analyses can provide the information on the stress distribution at the stump/socket interface and within the residual limb tissues. More recently, nonlinear models have been developed taking into consideration the process of socket rectifications, the slip/friction conditions and material large deformation. The models so far developed have provided some basic understanding of the biomechanics. Comparison of the predictions of these models with experimental measurements indicated that the predicted stresses were within the ranges measured, although one-to-one correspondence was difficult to achieve. Further research is still required in order to improve these models to obtain higher precision in the results taking into account nonlinear and dynamic effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-373
Number of pages14
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1998


  • Amputation
  • Finite element model, Prosthesis
  • Socket design, Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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