Volume 44 Number 4 2007
Pages 503 — 514

Abstract - Biomechanical and energetic effects of a stance-control orthotic knee joint

Angelika Zissimopoulos, MS;1-2* Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO (Hons);1,3 Steven A. Gard, PhD1-3

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

Abstract — Users of traditional knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs) walk with either locked or unlocked knee joints depending on the level of stability required. Some users may benefit from new stance-control KAFOs that prevent stance-phase knee flexion but allow swing-phase flexion. We collected data from nine nondisabled adults who walked with KAFOs that incorporated the Horton Stance-Control Orthotic Knee Joint (SCOKJ) in the locked, unlocked, and auto (which provides knee stability during stance phase and knee flexion during swing phase) modes to investigate the biomechanical and energetic effects of stance-control orthoses. Studying nondisabled subjects allowed us to analyze the effects of stance-control orthoses in a homogenous population. In general, gait kinematics for the auto and unlocked modes were more similar than for the auto and locked modes. Despite the elimination of hip hiking in the auto mode, oxygen cost was not different between the auto and locked modes (p > 0.99). The SCOKJ allowed our nondisabled subjects to walk with a more normal gait pattern; however, future research should explore the effect of stance-control orthoses on persons with gait pathology.

Key words: energy expenditure, gait, KAFO, kinematics, knee-ankle-foot orthosis, orthotic device, oxygen cost, rehabilitation, SCOKJ, stance-control.

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