• Question: Using all aspects of the prosthetic industry, do you think that it would ever be possible to create a prosthetic foot with the same structure of a normal human foot? (including the muscles bones and tendons)

    Asked by olhall27 to Zach on 14 Mar 2017.
    • Photo: Zach Welshman

      Zach Welshman answered on 14 Mar 2017:

      Yes i do! The answer to this question exists in separate parts. For example there exists prosthetic materials with the same structural composition as muscles and ligaments and there also exists materials with similar structural composition as bone and the same goes for skin.

      The real challenge and one which i am trying to uncover is the actual movement of the bones in the foot. If we do not know (accurately) how these bones move between one an other then we do not know what we are designing for. We can provide the basic need of a prosthetic, but currently they are far from replicating actual human movement.

      One big challenge is the cost of materials vs what the product can be sold for. It is not ideal to have a great product that few can afford. Although medical engineering is designing for healthcare, we have to remember that it is also a business and for a business to produce these products profit must be made so there is a balance to be struck.