A researcher at the University of Nebraska Omaha, Kota Takahashi, PhD, received $2 million from the Department of Defense (DOD) for his project, “Optimizing prosthetic shock absorption for high demand mobility of service members with leg amputation.” The award is part of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Outcomes Research Program.
The project addresses the lack of shock-absorbing functions of prosthetic devices, which can leave people with amputations prone to secondary injuries such as knee and low back pain.
“While numerous commercially available prostheses are marketed as ‘shock-absorbing’ legs, there are currently no objective guidelines for prescribing such devices for individuals with a leg amputation,” according to the project description.
Takahashi and his team will study the effects of various shock-absorbing prosthetic components (feet, ankles, and pylons) on user performance during a wide range of high-demand activities such as walking on slopes, stairs, during pivot maneuvers, and load carriage. The researchers will test service members and veterans using combinations of shock-absorbing prostheses, and obtain estimates of musculoskeletal health-related outcomes (forces, motion, and energy of the legs) and qualitative surveys of mobility and comfort.
Takahashi’s team includes scientists from Northwestern University, the Naval Medical Center San Diego, Humotech, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the Omaha VA Medical Center.
Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by University of Nebraska Omaha.