Date of Original Version
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Abstract or Description
Individuals with unilateral below-knee amputation expend more energy than non-amputees during walking and exhibit reduced push-off work and increased hip work in the affected limb. Simple dynamic models of walking suggest a possible solution, predicting that increasing prosthetic ankle push-off should decrease leading limb collision, thereby reducing overall energy requirements. We conducted a rigorous experimental test of this idea wherein ankle-foot prosthesis push-off work was incrementally varied in isolation from one-half to two-times normal levels while subjects with simulated amputation walked on a treadmill at 1.25 m · s(-1). Increased prosthesis push-off significantly reduced metabolic energy expenditure, with a 14% reduction at maximum prosthesis work. In contrast to model predictions, however, collision losses were unchanged, while hip work during swing initiation was decreased. This suggests that powered ankle push-off reduces walking effort primarily through other mechanisms, such as assisting leg swing, which would be better understood using more complete neuromuscular models.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.
Scientific Reports, 4, 7213-7213.