BIOMECHANICAL ANALYSIS OF THE INFLUENCE OF PROSTHETIC FEET ON BELOW-KNEE AMPUTEE WALKING


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Abstract

Although energy storing prosthetic feet have achieved widespread clinical acceptance, the effect of these components on the biomechanics of below-knee amputee gait is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the biomechanical adaptations used by the below-knee amputee while wearing a conventional prosthetic foot and to assess the influence of energy storing prosthetic feet on these adaptations. Mechanical power outputs of the lower extremity in five normal and five below-knee amputee subjects using the SACH, Seattle and Flex feet were studied. Ground reaction forces and kinematic data were collected at a walking speed of 1.5 m/s and were used to determine the muscular power outputs of the lower extremity during stance. Consistent patterns of muscular power output at the hip and knee of the residual limb occur. While wearing the SACH foot, negligible energy generation occurs at the prosthetic foot during pushoff. A decrease in energy absorption at the knee during the first half of stance and an increase in energy generation by the hip extensors were the major adaptations noted in the proximal muscle groups. Compared to the SACH foot, the energy storing feet demonstrated increased energy generation during pushoff. Despite the improvements in the performance of the energy storing prosthetic feet, no significant differences were found in the pattern or magnitude of knee and hip power outputs compared to the SACH foot.

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