Prosthetists choose few different designs in foot selection survey

LEIPZIG, Germany — Gerald Stark, MSEM, CPO/L, FAAOP, vice president of education and product development, Fillauer Companies Inc., created a survey in 2005 to find what type of foot prosthetists advocate for their patients.

In 2011, Stark created another prosthetic foot selection criteria survey based on results from the 2005 survey and noted that cadence speed, uneven terrain, stability and balance, amputation level, weight, size of the foot, special functions, warranty maintenance and overall cost were all important to prosthetists when choosing a foot design. He posted a new survey on the O&P listserv using a third party survey site. Ninety-nine participants fully answered the survey.

When asked about the number of feet the participants of the study advocated for a week, the highest number was 0 to 2 feet at 53%.

“The most interesting thing to me was that there was only a small number of feet that were utilized of the total number of designs available,” Stark told the audience at the ORTHOPÄDIE + REHA-TECHNIK 2012 International Trade Show and World Congress. “I personally counted 104 different current designs. Of those, only 41.2% chose between three to four feet.”

Stark also wanted to know the highest priorities of features when choosing prosthetic feet. Amputation level was chosen most often, along with maximum stability, multi-cadence, uneven terrain and cost. He ultimately found among the participants that prosthetists with 12 years of experience select up to two feet per week and choose from four different designs. Stark questioned whether prosthetists are considering enough of the designs that are available.

“Are we prejudicing our selection among the ones that have performed well in the past,” Stark said. “Another question is that we choose based on amputation level and stability, but what about evidence-based data? I think that is still coming to the forefront.”


Stark G. A survey of prosthetic foot clinical selection criteria. Presented at the ORTHOPÄDIE + REHA-TECHNIK 2012 International Trade Show and World Congress. May 15-18. Leipzig, Germany.

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