The effects of prosthetic foot design on physiologic measurements, self-selected walking velocity, and physical activity in people with transtibial amputation

Miao-Ju Hsu, David H Nielsen, Suh-Jen Lin-Chan, Donald Shurr
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2006, 87 (1): 123-9

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the physiologic differences during multispeed treadmill walking and physical activity profiles for the Otto Bock C-Walk foot (C-Walk), Flex-Foot, and solid ankle cushion heel (SACH) foot in people with transtibial amputation.

DESIGN: A repeated-measures design with 3 prostheses.

SETTING: Research laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS: Eight men with unilateral transtibial amputation.

INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Physiologic responses (energy expenditure, gait efficiency, exercise intensity, rating of perceived exertion [RPE]) during multispeed treadmill walking (53.64, 67.05, 80.46, 93.87, 107.28 m/min) test were analyzed with 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA). One-way ANOVA was employed to analyze foot-type differences for self-selected walking velocity (SSWV), and steps per day (daily activity). Analysis of covariance was used to analyze foot-type differences with SSWV as the covariable for the physiologic measurements.

RESULTS: The C-Walk had a trend of improved physiologic responses compared with the SACH; however, no foot-type differences were statistically significant. Compared with the C-Walk and SACH, the Flex-Foot showed no significant differences in energy expenditure and gait efficiency, but significantly lower percentage of age-predicted maximum heart rate and RPE values.

CONCLUSIONS: The energy storing-releasing feet appeared to have certain trends of improved gait performance compared with the SACH; however, not many objective foot-type differences were significantly noted. Further studies with a larger sample size are suggested.

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