Clubfoot Orthopaedic Equipment

Summary: Clubfoot is a common problem in infants and children in Zambia, whereby children a unable to carry out normal activities such as walking or running due to the angle of the feet. Fortunately, this problem can be corrected with a simple biomechanical device that consists of a metal bar connected to shoes at an appropriate angle and flexibility. However, this simple device is currently imported from abroad and any local manufacturing is done without any scientific basis or analysis. The current project will focus on first analyzing the problem in terms of the mechanics of the bone  and then developing a simple device that is easy to manufacture, is robust and is able to keep the feet at appropriate angles without causing major stresses or other orthopaedic abnormalities. The mechanical testing of the material for appropriate material and stress properties as well as age appropriate angles and flexibility are critical components that need to be addressed. The project will involve close collaboration with UNZA school of medicine, department of orthopaedics and the UTH in Lusaka. Improvements in this design will hopefully lead to better manufacturing and significant improvement in the quality of life of many children facing challenges in mobility.

Objectives:

  • To carry out computational analysis of loads and stresses devices to correct clubfoot.
  • To design a simple device to correct clubfoot using the Ponsetti method.

Student Tasks:

  • To carry out literature review on mechanical analysis of clubbed feet and associated bones and cartillage.
  • To study redesign and material properties necessary for correcting clubfoot
  • To investigate the effect of body weight, age, height and disability on loads.
  • To identify areas of improvement and current bottlenecks.
  • To investigate the local manufacturability of the device.

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