Passive-dynamic ankle-foot orthoses (PD-AFOs) are a type of ankle brace that rely on design and material properties to establish functional characteristics. Stiffness (resistance to bending) is an important functional characteristic that influences a brace’s level of assistance. While many agree that customizing a PD-AFO’s stiffness to meet an individual’s needs is essential to achieving enhanced function1, currently prescribed PD-AFOs are manually crafted, making it difficult to predictably or repeatedly customize orthoses. We have introduced a novel PD-AFO customization and manufacturing framework that uses freeform fabrication to rapidly fabricate PD-AFOs with objectively-customized characteristics including stiffness. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess the predictability and repeatability of the stiffness values of PD-AFOs fabricated with our novel framework.

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