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Athletes With Versus Without Leg Amputations

Different Biomechanics, Similar Running Economy

Beck, Owen N.1,2; Grabowski, Alena M.3,4

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: January 2019 - Volume 47 - Issue 1 - p 15–21
doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000174

Athletes with transtibial amputations use carbon-fiber prostheses to run. Compared with biological legs, these devices differ in structure and function, and consequently yield affected leg running biomechanics that are theoretically more economical than those of nonamputees. However, experimental data indicate that athletes with unilateral and bilateral transtibial amputations exhibit running economy values that are well within the range of nonamputee values.

Despite different running biomechanics, athletes with transtibial amputations exhibit running economy values that are well-within the biological range.

1The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, and

2School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA,

3Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder; and

4Department of Veterans Affairs, Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, Denver, CO

Address for correspondence: Owen N. Beck, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 455 Callaway Manufacturing Research Center Building, 813 Ferst Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332 (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: August 6, 2018.

Editor: Roger M. Enoka, Ph.D.

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine