Frictional action at lower limb/prosthetic socket interface

Ming Zhang, A. R. Turner-Smith, V. C. Roberts, A. Tanner

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The frictional action at stump/socket interface is discussed by a simplified model and finite element model analyses and clinical pressure measurements. The friction applied to the stump skin produces stresses within tissues and these stresses may damage the tissues and affect their normal functions. The combination of normal and shear stresses is considered to be a critical factor leading to amputee's discomfort and tissue damage. However, friction at the stump/socket interface has a beneficial action. A simplified residual limb model and a finite element model using real geometry have been developed to analyse the support action of friction. Both results show that the friction plays a critical role both in supporting the load of the amputee's body during the support phase of the gait cycle and in preventing the prosthesis from slipping off the limb during swing phase. Pressures at the below-knee socket during walking were measured with conditions of different friction. The results reveal that a larger pressure was produced at the lubricated interface than at the normal interface. A proper choice of coefficient of friction will balance the requirements of relief of load stress and reduction of slip with the general ability to support loads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Interface friction
  • Lower-limb prosthesis
  • Pressure distribution
  • Shear stress
  • Tissue modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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