In lower limb amputees, the comfort and fit of the prosthesis determine whether the user wears or not the prosthesis, fact on which a successful rehabilitation depends. The prosthetic fit is highly related with the relative motion between the socket and the residual limb (i.e., displacement). Displacement has been measured in static and dynamic position and between several surfaces such as skin-socket, liner-socket, bone-socket using various instruments. Marker-based optical tracking system is one of the most recent instruments used for measuring displacement between the socket and the residual limb that solves many of the constraints faced by other measurement instruments. Two options have been reported on the literature for using this instrument: transparent test socket with 2D marker and definite socket with cavities and 3D marker, both facing different limitations. The objective of this study is to evaluate these two options using Marker-based optical tracking system in order to give recommendations and contribute to the use of this method on future research.
Two sockets were used for the study: a transparent socket and a definite socket with and without cavities. Six trials were performed using both sockets with three types of markers located inside the socket: 2D circular, 3D hemisphere and 3D sphere. VICON motion capture system was used to detect the visibility of the markers at knee flexion angles (0° to 30°).
The results showed that all markers were visible from 15° to 30° knee flexion in all trials. The 2D marker presented difficulty of detection on knee angles from 0° to 10°, especially on the final socket without cavities. 3D hemisphere marker was seen almost all along the knee angles. 3D-sphere marker was visible in all positions, but the relatively large size of these markers may not be adequate to measure displacement.
Using the definite socket with the 2D circular and 3D hemisphere markers could be a good option to measure displacement between the residual limb and socket. Using this socket will be closer to reality than doing it on the transparent one. Additionally, the size of the 3D-hemisphere is relatively small, it may not drastically change the behavior between surfaces and as it is a 3D marker it can be better seen by the cameras.
Further tests should be done with patients walking all along the path in order to assess if the markers visibility is the same on static and dynamic trials.