The Influence of Four-Bar Linkage Knees on Prosthetic Swing-Phase Floor Clearance

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Four-bar linkage knees provide greater toe clearance during the swing phase of walking than do single-axis knees. The authors developed a computer model of a transfemoral prosthesis that allowed the kinematics of commercially available four-bar linkage knees and a single-axis-knee to be simulated so legshortening could be characterized.A plot of hip-toe distance versus knee-flexion angle demonstrated four-bar knees are able to shorten the limb with less knee flexion than is needed using a single-axis knee. For a hip-knee angle combination at the time of minimum toe clearance during normal walking, contour plots revealed the four-bar knees have 0.9-3.2 cm greater toe clearance than do single-axis knees.

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