There is only limited understanding of the relationship among in-clinic performance-based measures, real-world walking performance, and K-level. To this extent, a team of researchers conducted a study to investigate outcomes of in-clinic performance-based evaluations and real-world walking performance measures for individuals with unilateral lower-limb amputations classified as K2 and K3 ambulators. The study was published in the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics.
Twenty-seven individuals with unilateral lower-limb amputations classified as K2 or K3 functional levels underwent a clinical assessment visit that included a ten-meter walk test and a six-minute walk test. After the assessment, the individuals were equipped with an activity monitor, which they wore for a seven-day observation period. From these data, participants’ self-selected walking speed, total distance walked in six minutes, total number of steps taken during the observation period, total number of active minutes during the observation period, and percentage of time spent in low-, moderate-, and high-intensity activity during the observation period were calculated.
Individuals classified as K2 had, on average, a significantly slower self-selected walking speed, significantly shorter distance walked in six minutes, significantly lower total step count, and a significantly fewer number of active minutes when compared with those classified as K3. Although not significant, trends in activity intensity were seen, with individuals classified as K2 spending a larger percentage of time in low-intensity activity and less percentage of time in high-intensity activity when compared with those classified as K3.
The study authors conclude that this study is a step toward developing an objective and standardized method to classify an individual’s functional ability and make prosthetic recommendations.