Method to Quantify Cadence Variability of Individuals with Lower-Limb Amputation

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The ability to walk with different cadences (cadence variability) is considered an important factor for determining the functional ability of individuals with lower-limb amputation and making prosthetic recommendations. However, a method to quantify cadence variability of these individuals has never been presented before, so there are no standardized methodologies or values to guide prosthesis prescription. The purpose of this study was to develop and demonstrate feasibility of a method to quantify real-world cadence variability.

Materials and Methods

The method utilizes step-count data collected by an accelerometer-based activity monitor. Cadence at each minute is calculated. Then, the spread of the cadence data distribution during a 7-day observation period is measured to quantify cadence variability. To demonstrate feasibility, this method was applied to a set of step-count data for individuals with unilateral lower-limb amputation classified by their health care provider as a K2 or K3 ambulator.


Results showed that this method was able to differentiate the cadence characteristics of individuals classified as K2 versus K3. On average, individuals classified as K2 walked with significantly less cadence variability than those classified as K3.


This study provides a novel method for objectively determining cadence variability and provides a foundation for ultimately developing normative cadence characteristic values for K2 and K3 levels.

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