Step Activity and 6-Minute Walk Test Outcomes When Wearing Low-Activity or High-Activity Prosthetic Feet

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Abstract

Objective

To determine changes in average daily step count (ADSC) and 6-minute walk test (6MWT) due to use of low-activity feet (LA) and high-activity energy-storage-and-return (ESAR) feet, and examine the sensitivity of these measures to properly classify different prosthetic feet.

Design

Individuals with transtibial amputations (n = 28) participated in a 6-week, randomized crossover study. During separate 3-week periods, participants wore either a LA foot (eg, solid-ankle-cushioned-heel) or an ESAR foot. Differences in 6MWT and ADSC at the end of the 3-week period were recorded.

Results

Subjects performed similarly in the 6MWT with the LA and ESAR foot (P = 0.871) and ADSC (P = 0.076). The correct classification of ESAR is only 51.9% and 61.5% with 6MWT and ADSC, respectively. For the LA foot, correct classification is less than 50% for both tests.

Conclusions

Neither ADSC or 6MWT are responsive to changes in prosthetic feet. The pitfalls and shortcomings of these instruments with regard to their ability to detect differences in prosthetic feet are outlined. Based on these results, it is not recommended that the 6MWT and ADSC are used as a means to assess outcomes for different prosthetic feet.

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