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Gait Posture. 2019 Jul;72:40-45. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2019.05.022. Epub 2019 May 21.

Evolution of gait parameters in individuals with a lower-limb amputation during a six-minute walk test.

Author information

1
Faculty of medicine, Department of Kinesiology, Laval University, Quebec, Canada; Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS), Quebec, Canada.
2
Faculty of medicine, Department of Kinesiology, Laval University, Quebec, Canada; Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS), Quebec, Canada. Electronic address: Katia.Turcot@kin.ulaval.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A recent amputation leads to decreased functional capacities in the lower limb amputees (LLA), especially during walking. Assessments of LLA's gait in clinical settings are used to provide feedback on their evolution without quantifying gait parameters distinctly, unlike new technologies, such as inertial sensors (IMUs), which have demonstrated their effectiveness in different environments and populations.

RESEARCH QUESTION:

How do the spatial-temporal gait parameters and kinematics of the LLA evolve quantitatively over a six-minute walk test (6MWT) and is the use of inertial sensors relevant in clinical practice to quantify those parameters?

METHODS:

Fifteen LLA from a study cohort performed a 6MWT post-rehabilitation, wearing inertial sensors on both feet to provide gait parameters (i.e., minimum toe clearance (minTC), speed, cadence, stance time and foot flat ratio (FFr)) over this test. A non-parametric ANOVA was conducted comparing the evolution of each parameter over the 6MWT (12 intervals of 30 s). Significance level was set at P ≤  0.05. Post-hoc Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were performed if a main effect was detected.

RESULTS:

MinTC and stance phase variability along the 6MWT were significantly different over time. Cadence variability and speed variation were significantly different between both feet (amputated and non-amputated leg).

SIGNIFICANCE:

The increased variability in gait parameters along the 6MWT suggests a greater risk of future mobility problems following a return in community. The data provided by the IMUs reflect the potential of the clinical rehabilitation programme and could, therefore, help clinicians to refine their interventions.

KEYWORDS:

Gait; Inertial sensors; Lower limb amputation; Six-minute walk test

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