A project involving three Finnish universities, funded by the Academy of Finland, is developing simulation technology that will make it possible to design better fitting prosthetic joints according to the individual needs of each patient. The four-year project is being carried out at the Lappeenranta University of Technology, University of Jyväskylä and University of Eastern Finland.
A simulation programme at the Lappeenranta University of Technology provides detailed information about how the knee and other joints function. It can also interpret a person’s walking technique through sensors attached to the body that send information about the person’s movements to a computer.
People’s walking styles affect how much pressure is exerted on the cartilages of the joints and the simulation technology can help to predict a person’s susceptibility to joint diseases. Some walking techniques are possibly more vulnerable to cartilage injuries, according to Professor Aki Mikkola. While it is not possible to change a person’s walking style, it may be possible to compensate for the problems it causes by using different kinds of footwear.
The research in biomechanics at the Finnish universities is expected to bring relief for many people suffering from joint problems and to help in the design of prosthetic joints that are tailored to the specific needs of each patient.