Prosthetic Foot for Cross-Country Skiing

Enabling physically impaired cross-country skiers and biathlete to compete

The Rio Tinto Sports Innovation Challenge aims to promote the development of innovative sporting equipment for people with disabilities. Focusing on the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, an opportunity was recognised in the limited equipment available for cross-country skiing and biathlon. The project focused on designing, manufacturing and testing a prosthetic ankle joint and foot for above and below knee amputees.

Iterative prototyping

The detailed kinematics were identified based on literature and video footage analysis. Various models were created to understand the different ranges of motion observed in the knee and ankle in the different skiing modes. Athlete and bilateral leg amputee David Henson, as well as former Olympic biathlete Mike Dixon were consulted to refine the specifications of the prosthesis. With the help of experts at the London Prosthetic Centre, a suitable off-the-shelf knee joint was identified.

Prototype built throughout the process.
Product Design Specifications.

Final design

In order to ensure good control of the leg, the degrees of freedom in the ankle were limited to dorsiflexion/plantar flexion and internal/external rotation. After exploring various concepts for these, it was decided to use a compression spring for the former and a torsion spring for the latter. Iterative simulations replicating the loading conditions were performed on each component, leading to the creation of the final design.

Mechanism concept sketching.
Screenshots of Finite Element Analysese conducted on various parts of the assembly.
Design overview.


I manufactured each custom component of the foot and ankle joint. The final assembly was finally tested to assess the performance of the device and its features.

Final year individual project as part of the Rio Tinto Sports Innovation Challenge.
2013-2014 | Imperial College London