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Gait Posture. 2011 Feb;33(2):220-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.11.009. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

The effect of prosthetic ankle energy storage and return properties on muscle activity in below-knee amputee walking.

Author information

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C2200, Austin, TX 78712, USA.

Abstract

In an effort to improve amputee gait, energy storage and return (ESAR) prosthetic feet have been developed to provide enhanced function by storing and returning mechanical energy through elastic structures. However, the effect of ESAR feet on muscle activity in amputee walking is not well understood. Previous studies have analyzed commercial prosthetic feet with a wide range of material properties and geometries, making it difficult to associate specific ESAR properties with changes in muscle activity. In contrast, prosthetic ankles offer a systematic way to manipulate ESAR properties while keeping the prosthetic heel and keel geometry intact. In the present study, ESAR ankles were added to a Seattle Lightfoot2 to carefully control the energy storage and return by altering the ankle stiffness and orientation in order to identify its effect on lower extremity muscle activity during below-knee amputee walking. A total of five foot conditions were analyzed: solid ankle (SA), stiff forward-facing ankle (FA), compliant FA, stiff reverse-facing ankle (RA) and compliant RA. The ESAR ankles decreased the activity of muscles that contribute to body forward propulsion and increased the activity of muscles that provide body support. The compliant ankles generally caused a greater change in muscle activity than the stiff ankles, but without a corresponding increase in energy return. Ankle orientation also had an effect, with RA generally causing a lower change in muscle activity than FA. These results highlight the influence of ESAR stiffness on muscle activity and the importance of prescribing appropriate prosthetic foot stiffness to improve rehabilitation outcomes.

PMID:
21145747
DOI:
10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.11.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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