Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 53 Number 6, 2017
   Pages 1079 — 1088

Abstract — Metabolic effects of using a variable impedance prosthetic knee

Matthew R. Williams, PhD;1–2* Hugh Herr, PhD;1–2 Susan D'Andrea, PhD1,3

1Providence Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Providence, RI; 2Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; 3Department of Orthopaedics, Brown University, Providence, RI

Abstract — A transfemoral amputation has a significant effect on walking. Though current prosthetic knee options serve to restore mobility, as purely passive devices, they do not fully restore nondisabled gait. Persons with transfemoral amputation incur a higher metabolic cost during walking than persons without amputation and as a result walk slower and for shorter distances before tiring. An original variable-impedance transmission prosthetic knee (VI Knee) was tested in five study participants with unilateral transfemoral amputation at two steady-state walking speeds, one below and one above their preferred walking speed. While walking with the VI Knee, participants with shorter limbs showed a reduction in metabolic cost compared with their conventional C-Leg prosthesis, while those with longer limbs exhibited an increase. Though differences were observed between speeds, overall the difference in metabolic cost (reduction or increase) was found to correlate significantly with rise in the center of mass, with those with shorter residual limbs exhibiting less overall lifting of the body during gait.

Key words: amputation, center of mass, gait, knee joint, metabolic cost of transport, prosthesis, rehabilitation, robotics, transfemoral, walking.

View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 53, No. 6
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Williams MR, Herr H, D'Andrea S. Metabolic effects of using a variable impedance prosthetic knee. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(6):1079–88.

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