A team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic Motion Analysis Lab, Rochester, Minnesota, and Polytechnic Institute of Milan, Bioengineering Department, Italy, have conducted gait symmetry testing, the results of which demonstrate that individuals with transfemoral amputations who use a microprocessor-controlled knee (MPK) versus a mechanical knee might experience reduced musculoskeletal degenerative changes. The findings were published in a recent issue of Clinical Biomechanics.
Individuals with amputations walk with an asymmetrical gait, which may lead to future musculoskeletal degenerative changes, according to the researchers. To assess lower-limb kinematic impact, they compared three-dimensional gait asymmetry measurements of 15 active transfemoral amputees (12 men and 3 women; mean 42 years, range 26-57 years) while using a passive mechanical knee joint or an MPK. Research participants were longtime users of a mechanical prosthesis (mean 20 years, range 3-36 years). Joint symmetry was calculated using a novel method that includes the entire waveform throughout the gait cycle.
The results indicate that there was no significant difference in hip, knee, and ankle kinematics symmetry when using the different knee prostheses. In contrast, the results demonstrated a significant improvement in lower-limb joint kinetics symmetry when using the microprocessor-controlled knee. Because use of the MPK joint resulted in improved gait symmetry, the researchers believe these improvements may lead to a reduction in the degenerative musculoskeletal changes often experienced by individuals with amputations.