Effects of powered ankle–foot orthoses mass distribution on lower limb muscle forces—a simulation study

Grace Marconi, Alpha Agape Gopalai, Sunita Chauhan

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This simulation study aimed to explore the effects of mass and mass distribution of powered ankle–foot orthoses, on net joint moments and individual muscle forces throughout the lower limb. Using OpenSim inverse kinematics, dynamics, and static optimization tools, the gait cycles of ten subjects were analyzed. The biomechanical models of these subjects were appended with ideal powered ankle–foot orthoses of different masses and actuator positions, as to determine the effect that these design factors had on the subject’s kinetics during normal walking. It was found that when the mass of the device was distributed more distally and posteriorly on the leg, both the net joint moments and overall lower limb muscle forces were more negatively impacted. However, individual muscle forces were found to have varying results which were attributed to the flow-on effect of the orthosis, the antagonistic pairing of muscles, and how the activity of individual muscles affect each other. It was found that mass and mass distribution of powered ankle–foot orthoses could be optimized as to more accurately mimic natural kinetics, reducing net joint moments and overall muscle forces of the lower limb, and must consider individual muscles as to reduce potentially detrimental muscle fatigue or muscular disuse. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167–1182
Number of pages16
JournalMedical & Biological Engineering & Computing
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Ankle–foot orthosis
  • Biomechanics
  • Foot drop
  • Gait analysis
  • Kinetics
  • Musculoskeletal modelling

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