The observation of upper body movement is gaining interest in the gait analysis community. Recent studies involved the use of body-worn motion sensors, allowing translation of laboratory measurements to real-life settings in the context of patient monitoring and fall prevention.
It was shown that amputee persons demonstrate altered acceleration patterns due to the presence of prosthetic components, while no information is available on how accelerations propagate upwards to the head during level walking. This descriptive study aims to fill this gap.
Original research report.
Twenty definitive prosthesis users with transtibial amputation and 20 age-matched able-bodied individuals participated in the study. Three magneto-inertial measurement units were placed at head, sternum and pelvis level to assess acceleration root mean square. Three repetitions of the 10-m walking test were performed at a self-selected speed.
Acceleration root mean square was significantly larger at pelvis and head level in individuals with amputation than in able-bodied participants, mainly in the transverse plane (p < 0.05). Differences were also observed in how accelerations propagate upwards, highlighting that a different motor strategy is adopted in amputee persons gait to compensate for increased instability.
The obtained parameters allow an objective mobility assessment of amputee persons that can integrate with the traditional clinical approach.
Transtibial amputees exhibit asymmetries due to the sound limb’s support prevalence during gait: this is evidenced by amplified accelerations on the transverse plane and by related differences in upper body movement control. Assessing these accelerations and their attenuations upwards may be helpful to understand amputee’s motor strategies and to improve prosthetic training.