Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center

Shape & Roll Prosthetic Foot Designer Kit for Low-Income Countries

Principal Investigators: Steven A. Gard, PhD, and Dudley S. Childress, PhD

Project Director: Margrit R. Meier, PhD

Co-Investigator: Andrew H. Hansen, PhD

Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)

Status: Completed


The purpose of this project is to design instruction manuals that allow people from low-income countries to fabricate the newly developed Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot by themselves. Low-income countries require a large quantity of prosthetic components in order to satisfy their demand. However, importing components from industrialized countries is expensive and, in most cases, not affordable on a large scale. Furthermore, these components, designed for the culture of industrialized nations, do not necessarily meet the physical, environmental and social demands of persons living in low-income countries. Disadvantaged countries must cope not only with a large number of citizens with amputations, but also with an almost chronic lack of educated personnel to provide needed prosthetic and orthotic services. In 1990, WHO estimated the number of adequately trained personnel in the orthopedic sector to be less than 2,000. The combined populations of Africa, Asia and Latin America represent more than four billion persons, requiring more than 20,000 trained personnel in order to make available one person per each 1,000 persons who need orthopedic devices (WHO 1990). One solution for the population that needs orthopedic appliances and relies on an insufficient number of trained personnel is the development of P&O components that can be manufactured by personnel who are not trained in P&O. These instruction booklets provide easy to follow, step-by-step instructions for the fabrication of the Shape&Roll prosthetic foot, including the fabrication of its mold and a cosmetic cover. The Shape&Roll prosthetic foot has been developed in our laboratory in collaboration with CIR (Center for International Rehabilitation, Chicago). The instruction booklets are drawn like the modular assembly booklets used by IKEA (see Figure) to make the fabrication process understandable throughout diverse languages and cultures. It is our hope that these instruction booklets will enable personnel who work in orthopedic production facilities, but who are not necessarily trained in P&O, to fabricate the Shape&Roll foot by themselves.

Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot Instruction Manuals: **

Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot Manual 1 - Fabrication of a Lever Compression Mold Meier MR, Steer SA, Hansen AH, Sam M, Childress DS (2006). Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot Manual 1-Fabrication of a Lever Compression Mold. SpectraGraphics Printing Inc., La Crosse, WI, ISBN: 0-9785898-0-7.

Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot Manual 2 - Fabrication of the Core Meier MR, Steer SA, Hansen AH, Sam M, Childress DS (2006). Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot Manual 2-Fabrication of the Core. SpectraGraphics Printing Inc., La Crosse, WI, ISBN: 0-9785898-1-5.

Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot Manual 3 - Fabrication of the Cosmetic Shell Hansen AH, Meier MR, Steer SA, Sam M, Dussud S, Wu Y, Childress DS  (Unpublished paper, 2008). 

NOTE: Updated Manuals Below. These new manuals use cement molds, instead of wood, in a newly designed molding machine. We would like to thank Daniela Duran for translating steps 1 to 3 into Spanish.

Step 1: Construction of a Shape&Roll prosthetic foot molding machine (new design) (Spanish Translation)

Step 2: Making a cement upper molding surface (Spanish Translation)

Step 3: Making a cement tray (Spanish Translation)

Step 4: Making a Shape&Roll foot -- Use the manual entitled "Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot Manual 2 - Fabrication of the Core" to learn how to make a foot using the newly designed molding machine with cement molds. The only change is that you do not need to apply soap to the cement molding surfaces like with the wood molds.

(** These documents are in the Adobe PDF format. You will need the Adobe Reader, which is available for FREE, to view these documents.)


WHO (1990) Guidelines for training personnel in developing countries for prosthetic and orthotic services. Geneva World Health Organization.

Related Publications

Meier M, Steer S, Hansen A, Sam M, Childress D. Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot: Instruction Manuals. Paper presented at: 12th World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics; July 29-August 3, 2007; Vancouver, Canada.