Volume 51 Number 10, 2014
Pages 1505 — 1514
Abstract — The biomechanical responses to load carriage, a common task for dismounted troops, have been well studied in nondisabled individuals. However, with recent shifts in the rehabilitation and retention process of injured servicemembers, there remains a substantial need for understanding these responses in persons with lower-limb amputations. Temporal-spatial and kinematic gait parameters were analyzed among 10 male servicemembers with unilateral transtibial amputation (TTA) and 10 uninjured male controls. Participants completed six treadmill walking trials in all combinations of two speeds (1.34 and 1.52 m/s) and three loads (none, 21.8, and 32.7 kg). Persons with TTA exhibited biomechanical compensations to carried loads that are comparable to those observed in uninjured individuals. However, several distinct gait changes appear to be unique to those with TTA, notably, increased dorsiflexion (deformation) of the prosthetic foot/ankle, less stance knee flexion on the prosthetic limb, and altered trunk forward lean/excursion. Such evidence supports the need for future work to assess the risk for overuse injuries with carried loads in this population in addition to guiding the development of adaptive prosthetic feet/components to meet the needs of redeployed servicemembers or veterans/civilians in physically demanding occupations.
Key words: amputation, biomechanics, gait, kinematics, load carriage, military, return to duty, transtibial, treadmill, unilateral.
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