Examining the viability of carbon fiber reinforced three-dimensionally printed prosthetic feet created by composite filament fabrication.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


A low-cost, yet high-functioning, fabrication method for prosthetic components is needed to provide underserved amputee communities with quality mobility devices. Three-dimensional printing is a potential alternative, yet limitations in material characteristics have previously prevented the technology from emerging as a solution.


To validate the application of a novel three-dimensional printing technique as a fabrication method for creating fiber composite patient end-use prosthetic feet.

Study design:

Experimental designs were iterated upon throughout mechanical testing.


A testing apparatus capable of loading prosthetic feet in dorsiflexion and plantarflexion was constructed. Load displacement data were gathered, and energy analyses were conducted. The three-dimensionally printed feet were compared to a Freedom Innovations Renegade® MX carbon fiber foot and a solid-ankle cushion heel foot.


The three-dimensionally printed feet achieved energy profiles that were similar, and in some cases preferable, to the energy profiles of the Renegade MX and solid-ankle cushion heel foot. The stiffness profiles of the three-dimensionally printed feet varied widely and depended greatly on the design of the feet, as well as the amount and location of the fiber reinforcement.


Composite filament fabrication three-dimensional printing has the potential to serve as a fabrication method for the production of energy returning prosthetic feet.

Clinical relevance:

The results of this study indicate that carbon fiber reinforced three-dimensionally printed prosthetic feet have the potential to serve as a low-cost alternative to carbon fiber prosthetic feet and that three-dimensional printing has the capacity to function as a viable fabrication method for patient end-use prosthetic components.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Warder, HH; Fairley, JK; Coutts, J; Glisson, RR; Gall, K

Published Date

  • December 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 644 - 651

PubMed ID

  • 29974821

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1746-1553

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0309-3646

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0309364618785726


  • eng