A comparison of two prosthetic feet on the multi-joint and multi-plane kinetic gait compensations in individuals with a unilateral trans-tibial amputation

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Abstract

Objective.

To determine the effects of two different prosthetic feet on the three-dimensional kinetic patterns of both the prosthetic and sound limbs during unilateral trans-tibial amputee gait.

Design.

Eleven individuals with a unilateral trans-tibial amputation participated in two walking sessions: once while using the conventional SAFE foot, the other while using the dynamic Flex foot.

Background.

Despite the wide variation in the design of prosthetic feet, the benefits of these prostheses remain unclear.

Methods.

During each test session, peak joint moments and powers in the sagittal, transverse and frontal planes were examined, as subjects walked at a comfortable speed.

Results.

The majority of the kinetic differences that occurred due to the changing of prosthetic foot type were limited to ankle joint variables in the sagittal plane with greater peak moments and power during propulsion for the Flex foot compared to the SAFE foot. However, effects were also found at joints proximal to the prosthesis (e.g. knee) and differences were also found in the kinetics of the sound limb.

Conclusion.

The dynamic Flex foot allowed subjects to rely more heavily on the prosthetic foot for propulsion and stability during walking with minimal compensations at the remaining joints.

Relevance

Determining the biomechanical differences between the conventional and dynamic prosthetic feet may advocate the use of one prosthetic foot type over another. This information, when used in conjunction with subjective preferences, may contribute to higher functioning and greater satisfaction for individuals with a lower limb amputation.

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