Over 50% of individuals with lower limb amputation fall at least once each year. These individuals also exhibit reduced ability to effectively respond to challenges to frontal plane stability. The range of whole body angular momentum has been correlated with stability and fall risk. This study determined how lateral walking surface perturbations affected the regulation of whole body and individual leg angular momentum in able-bodied controls and individuals with unilateral transtibial amputation. Participants walked at fixed speed in a Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment with no perturbations and continuous, pseudo-random, mediolateral platform oscillations. Both the ranges and variability of angular momentum for both the whole body and both legs were significantly greater (p<. 0.001) during platform oscillations. There were no significant differences between groups in whole body angular momentum range or variability during unperturbed walking. The range of frontal plane angular momentum was significantly greater for those with amputation than for controls for all segments (p<. 0.05). For the whole body and intact leg, angular momentum ranges were greater for patients with amputation. However, for the prosthetic leg, angular momentum ranges were less for patients than controls. Patients with amputation were significantly more affected by the perturbations. Though patients with amputation were able to maintain similar patterns of whole body angular momentum during unperturbed walking, they were more highly destabilized by the walking surface perturbations. Individuals with transtibial amputation appear to predominantly use altered motion of the intact limb to maintain mediolateral stability.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine