A soft robotic knee brace for improving knee stability in anterior cruciate ligament deficient patients

Finished: 2019-10-15

MSc assignment

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an important ligament for the stability of the knee. The ACL prevents anterior translation between the femur and the tibia. An ACL rupture is a very common injury of the knee joint. The instability of the knee may increase osteoarthritis progression in the patients due to the strain on the cartilage causing pain.

Reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation are some of the techniques used to improve the stability of ACL deficient patients. Knee braces are another means of improving the stability of the knee: however none of the current treatments are able to return the full biomechanics of the knee joint. This thesis is aimed at creating a knee brace implementing soft robotics to recover the normal anterior translation of the tibia along the femur of a healthy knee.

A knee brace available in the market will be used and we will integrate soft actuators in this knee brace. The soft actuators will be pressurized as to inhibit any anterior movement of the leg at the knee joint. A simulation of a knee brace model will be tested on a verified model of the knee joint with a severed ACL.

To prove the concept we will take the knee through various angles of flexion and check the anterior translation of the tibia with respect to the femur for both braced (with soft actuators and without) and unbraced knee conditions.