Volume 44 Number 4 2007
Pages 491 — 502

Abstract - Gait characteristics of persons with bilateral transtibial amputations

Po-Fu Su, MS;1-2* Steven A. Gard, PhD;1-5 Robert D. Lipschutz, CP;5-6 Todd A. Kuiken, MD, PhD1,3,6

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; 2Northwestern University Prosthetics Research Laboratory and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Program, Chicago, IL; 3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; 4Jesse Brown Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Chicago, IL; 5Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center, Chicago, IL; 6Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Abstract — The gait characteristics of persons with unilateral transtibial amputations are fairly well documented in the literature. However, much less is known about the gait of persons with bilateral transtibial amputations. This study used quantitative gait analysis to investigate the gait characteristics of 19 persons with bilateral transtibial amputations. To reduce variability between subjects, we fitted all subjects with Seattle Lightfoot II feet 2 weeks before their gait analyses. The data indicated that subjects walked with symmetrical temporospatial, kinematic, and kinetic parameters. Compared with nondisabled controls, the subjects with amputations walked with slower speeds and lower cadences, had shorter step lengths and wider step widths, and displayed hip hiking during swing phase. Additionally, compared with the nondisabled controls walking at comparable speeds, the subjects with amputations demonstrated reduced ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion in stance phase, reduced peak ankle plantar flexor moment, reduced positive ankle power (i.e., energy return) in late stance, and increased positive and negative hip power. These results demonstrate the deficiencies in current prosthetic componentry and suggest that further research is needed to enhance prosthesis function and improve gait in persons with amputations.

Key words: amputee, bilateral, gait, hip hiking, kinematics, kinetics, prosthesis, rehabilitation, step width, transtibial, walking speed.

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