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Vol. 37 No. 1, 2000

Abstract - A preliminary investigation of pelvic obliquity patterns during gait in persons with transtibial and transfemoral amputation

Stephanie B. Michaud, MS; Steven A. Gard, PhD; Dudley S. Childress, PhD

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Program, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611; VA Chicago Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Chicago, IL 60611

Abstract--Differences in pelvic obliquity between small groups of persons with unilateral lower limb amputation and subjects without amputation were analyzed. Kinematic walking data were collected as six males with transtibial amputation and three males with transfemoral amputation walked over a range of speeds. The pelvic obliquity patterns and amplitudes from the groups with amputation were compared to normal data. Results showed that smaller peak-to-peak amplitudes of pelvic obliquity were associated with higher amputation levels. Pelvic drop during early prosthetic-limb stance tended to be smaller than during early sound-limb stance. Most of the subjects with amputation exhibited an obliquity pattern in which the hip on the prosthetic side was raised above the stance-side hip during prosthetic swing phase, indicative of a compensatory action known as hip-hiking. The subjects with transfemoral amputation exhibited this hip-hiking pattern during sound-limb swing phase as well. Results from this study suggest that further investigation is required to determine those limitations of current prosthetic technology that adversely affect pelvic obliquity in the gait of persons with amputation, and to determine if significant benefit can be realized by restoring a normal pattern of pelvic obliquity to the gait of persons with amputation.

Key words: gait, pelvic obliquity, prosthetics, transfemoral amputation, transtibial amputation.

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