Previous work has highlighted the highly functional post-rehabilitation level of military individuals who sustained traumatic amputation. Understanding how these individuals walk with their prostheses, however, could help set a precedent for what is realistically possible for individuals with amputations from a rehabilitation standpoint.
A study, published online May 20 in the Annals Of Physical And Rehabilitation Medicine, attempted to answer how “normal” the gait of an individual with an amputation(s) should be and whether it is possible to mimic able-bodied gait with the most advanced prostheses in highly functioning individuals?
The cross-sectional study compared the gait of severely injured and highly functional military veterans with amputations in the United Kingdom—ten transtibial, ten transfemoral, and ten bilateral transfemoral—after completing their rehabilitation to that of ten able-bodied individuals. As part of the study, joint kinematics and kinetics of the pelvis, hip, knee, and ankle were measured with 3D gait analysis during five minutes of walking on level ground at a self-selected speed. Peak angle, moment or range of motion of intact and prosthetic limbs were also compared to those without amputations.
Results of the study showed that joint kinematics of individuals with unilateral transtibial amputations were similar to those of subjects without amputations. Individuals with transfemoral amputations walked with a more anterior tilted pelvis (p=0.006), with reduced range of pelvic obliquity (p=0.0023) and ankle plantarflexion (p<0.001) than those without amputations. Across all groups of those with amputations, hip joint moments and power were greater and knee and ankle joint moments were less than for controls, according to the study.