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Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Vol. 37 No. 3, May/June 2000
Pages 255 - 260

Quantitative analysis of the effects of audio biofeedback on weight-bearing characteristics of persons with transtibial amputation during early prosthetic ambulation

Daniel H.K. Chow, PhD and Chris T.K. Cheng, CPO, MSc

Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Center, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Prosthetic and Orthotic Department, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong, SAR

Abstract — Residual limb recovery after a transtibial amputation depends largely on close monitoring of the weight-bearing activities during the early postoperative stage. Although a biofeedback device, in particular audio biofeedback, was recommended to be used, no quantitative studies regarding its effectiveness in monitoring the weight-bearing activity of a person with amputation were available. In this study, six persons with transtibial amputations were asked to replicate a prescribed amount of weight bearing using a bathroom scale method during their early postoperative ambulatory training. Their weight-bearing characteristics with and without using audio biofeedback were continuously monitored using a load-monitoring device and compared with the prescribed load. The results showed that the residual limb would be overloaded using the conventional bathroom scale method during early postoperative ambulatory training if no audio biofeedback were provided. It was demonstrated that audio biofeedback was useful in preventing the residual limb from being overloaded beyond the prescribed load particularly when the prescribed load was low.

Key words: audio biofeedback, load monitoring device, transtibial amputation, weight bearing.


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