The use of rapid prototyping in the design of a customised ankle brace structure for ACL injury risk reduction.

Rapid prototyping, or additive manufacturing, is becoming more useful in creating functional prototypes, especially when customisation is required. This paper explores the use of three-dimensional (3D) printing in designing a customised ankle brace structure for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury risk reduction. A new process is proposed to obtain ankle flexion angles and the corresponding foot surface strain associated with high ACL injury risks through motion analysis. This data is used in the design of the customised ankle brace structure and printed using rapid prototyping. One customised ankle brace structure was printed and tested to demonstrate this proposed framework. The ankle flexion range of motion (ROM) was significantly reduced in the high-risk ankle positions with the ankle brace structure. Rapid prototyping could thus be used to design customised ankle brace structures and this is useful in reducing fabrication time and complexity of customisation. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.