Date of Award
Doctor of Health Administration
College of Health Professions
Jesse C. Dean
Mark G. Bowden
Daniel L. Brinton
Background: Individuals with lower extremity amputation often present with kinematic and kinetic gait asymmetries and often have difficulty achieving symmetrical walking using their prescribed prosthesis. To understand the impact of limb loss on gait measures, studies often compare individuals with lower limb amputation to healthy control participants or compare the amputated limb to the uninvolved limb while completing a specified task like steady state walking. Commonly implemented treatments for individuals with lower limb amputation are based upon the assumption that equal use of both legs (symmetry) while completing bipedal tasks (e.g., walking) would be beneficial, matching the behavior seen in healthy control individuals. Underlying kinematic or kinetic symmetry, as well as a potential relationship of the two biomechanical gait variables in individuals with below knee amputation have not been thoroughly evaluated during steady state treadmill walking. Methods: We explored potential underlying (a)symmetries in peak trailing limb angle (kinematic) and peak anterior ground reaction force (kinetic) in individuals with below knee amputation walking at self-selected walking speed on a treadmill without upper extremity support. We then implemented real-time visual feedback to alter symmetry and examine the potential relationship between peak trailing limb angle and peak anterior ground reaction force. Later, we recruited and tested healthy control individuals with and without a solid ankle foot orthosis (SAFO) walking at their self-selected walking speed on a treadmill and exposed them to a similar visual feedback program to alter their baseline (a)symmetry. Population: We enrolled eleven of the planned twenty-four individuals with unilateral below knee amputation and fourteen healthy control participants without any lower extremity pathology or gait abnormality. Results: We found that individuals with below knee amputation do have peak trailing limb and anterior ground reaction force asymmetries and unencumbered healthy control individuals demonstrate symmetry of the same outcome measures while walking on a treadmill at self-selected walking speed. The use of real time visual feedback yielded statistically significant differences in peak trailing limb angle in healthy control participants without a solid ankle foot orthosis (p=0.04), peak and impulse anterior ground reaction forces when wearing a solid ankle foot orthosis (p=0.04). Statistically significant correlation between peak trailing limb angle and peak anterior ground reaction force were found in individuals with below knee amputation at baseline (p=0.0004), with real time visual feedback for peak trailing limb angle (p<0.0001), and peak anterior ground reaction force (p=0.0002). Conclusions: Real time visual feedback is one intervention used to alter walking symmetry. Our results do not demonstrate an overwhelming response to real time visual feedback by individuals with below knee amputation or their healthy control counterparts and should be interpreted with caution. This work does provide meaningful information for further studies and interventions to alter symmetry during steady state walking and begins to explore the potential relationship between peak trailing limb angel and peak anterior ground reaction force production during self-selected treadmill walking in individuals with below knee amputation as well as otherwise healthy control individuals.
Embry, Aaron E., "Peak Trailing Limb Angle and Propulsion Symmetry in Individuals with Below Knee Amputation" (2021). MUSC Theses and Dissertations. 568.
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