Vaulting quantification during level walking of transfemoral amputees

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Abstract

Background:

Vaulting is a gait compensatory mechanism used by transfemoral amputees to assist toe clearance during the prosthetic swing phase. It is defined by a plantar flexion of the contralateral ankle during the single-limb support phase. The aim of the study is to propose a method to quantify vaulting of transfemoral amputees.

Methods:

17 transfemoral amputees and 28 asymptomatic subjects participated in the data collection. Kinematics and kinetics of the whole body were recorded while subjects were walking on a level surface. Biomechanical gait analysis was focused on a reduced set of parameters linked to the contralateral ankle, the contralateral knee and the trajectory of the center of pressure. The patients were classified in two groups: with or without vaulting using video recordings. Differences between both groups and the control group were analyzed.

Findings:

A higher generated ankle power was found during the single support phase of the contralateral limb of transfemoral amputees presenting vaulting. These subjects presented also a higher dissipated knee flexion power before the peak in ankle flexion power. The trajectory of the center of pressure was also modified by the vaulting.

Interpretation:

Vaulting for transfemoral amputees is characterized by a propulsive plantar flexion at the contralateral ankle. Quantifying the ankle flexion power during the contralateral single support phase will help in understanding vaulting.

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