A team of researchers conducted a scoping review to map the evidence about steps per day as a physical activity measure for people with lower-limb loss. Specific aims were to identify research designs, catalog population subgroups, document steps-per-day measurement methods, and provide descriptive data for steps per day. Their review identified gaps in the research related to steps per day as a measure of physical activity in people with lower-limb loss, opening the door for more study.
The Medline, CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science, and AMED databases, and the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics archive were searched without language or time limits. Inclusion criteria allowed any sample size, non-prosthetic use, and self-reported step count; only descriptive statistics were compiled, and no methodologic quality assessment was performed.
Nineteen of the 21 included articles reported accelerometer data, and two reported pedometer data. The studies often mixed amputation etiologies and most excluded transfemoral amputations, according to the review’s authors. Studies primarily examined people with transtibial amputations (81.2 percent) and people at independent community walking levels (K3 = 49.2 percent, K4 = 36.3 percent). All studies had less than 100 participants, and overall included 515 combined subjects (66.6 percent male, age 53.2 years). Pooled steps per day was 5,929 for people with transtibial amputations, and 3,553 for people with transfemoral amputations.
Because the data showed that lower-limb amputees have low activity levels compared to the 10,000 steps per day generally recommended or the 6,000 recommended steps common in people with diabetes, the researchers suggested more studies with larger sample sizes, defined subgroups, and data along the recovery continuum to enhance knowledge about the level of physical activity level in this population.
The study, “A Scoping Review of Physical Activity in People With Lower-Limb Loss: 10,000 Steps Per Day?” was published in Physical Therapy.