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Clubfoot is a musculoskeletal birth defect characterized by an inward twisting of an infant’s feet. Currently, a series of casts are used to correct clubfoot and the Steenbeek brace is used to maintain the correction. However, this method has issues with compliance, comfort, and social stigma. Mr. Jerald Cunningham, CPO, designed and is utilizing a unilateral clubfoot maintenance brace called the Cunningham Clubfoot Brace. He expects his brace to reduce treatment time, lessen social stigma, and increase child mobility. Hope Walks, in Kijabe, Kenya, is interested in implementing this new maintenance brace at their clinics. However, there is not enough published research on its biomechanics and patient success rates to confirm Mr. Cunningham’s findings.

The Cunningham Clubfoot Brace Collaboratory project seeks to validate the effectiveness of this design through biomedical testing and increase brace accessibility through sustainable manufacturing. The team is measuring the biomechanical forces applied by the brace with multiple force sensors on the Cunningham and Steenbeek braces. Mr. Cunningham plans to use injection molding to increase brace production. The team is completing Finite Element Analysis to determine how the brace’s properties change with injection molding. The team is also completing fatigue analysis with the Cunningham Brace to quantify its reusability. Furthermore, the clinical study in Kenya and Dr. Emily Farrar’s retrospective research paper will contribute to the published research on the Cunningham Brace. The collaborative efforts of the team will increase further understanding of the Cunningham Brace and its acceptance as an alternative clubfoot maintenance brace.

Publication Date

Spring 2022


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The work presented in this document has been provided solely for educational and edification purposes. All materials are composed by students of Messiah University and are not certified by any means. They do not constitute professional consultation and require the examination and evaluation by a certified engineer through any product development process. The contents documented are the produced work by the student design team but do not necessarily represent the as-built or as-assembled state of a complete and tested design; faculty, staff, and other professionals involved in our program may have augmented the student engineering work during implementation, which may not be recorded within this document.

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Force Characterization and Manufacturing of a Dynamic Unilateral Clubfoot Brace

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