Energy expenditure during ambulation in dysvascular and traumatic below-knee amputees: a comparison of five prosthetic feet

L Torburn, C M Powers, R Guiterrez, J Perry
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 1995, 32 (2): 111-9
Recent advancement in prosthetic technology has led to the development of dynamic elastic response feet (DER), which are reported to store and release energy to facilitate gait. To date, there has been no objective evidence to suggest energy conservation while using these foot designs. The purpose of this study was to compare the energy expenditure of five commercially available prosthetic feet (SACH and four DER feet) in both the traumatic and dysvascular populations during level walking. Seventeen male subjects with below-knee amputation (nine traumatic and seven dysvascular) were tested for energy expenditure (Douglas Bag technique) during a 20-min walk while wearing each of the prosthetic feet. The DER prosthetic foot designs were not shown to reduce the energy cost (ml O2/kg-m) or rate of energy expenditure (ml O2/kg-min) compared to the SACH foot. Overall, the traumatic amputees had a similar oxygen consumption per meter traveled compared to the dysvascular amputees; however, the rate of energy consumption was much higher in the traumatic group. This increased rate was a function of the greater walking velocity employed by the traumatic subjects, made possible by their better physical fitness.

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