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Temporal Spatial and Metabolic Measures of Walking in Highly Functional Individuals With Lower Limb Amputations

Jarvis, HL and Baker, R and Bennett, A and Twiste, M and Phillip, R and Etheringtion, J (2016) Temporal Spatial and Metabolic Measures of Walking in Highly Functional Individuals With Lower Limb Amputations. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 98 (7). pp. 1389-1399. ISSN 0003-9993

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Abstract

Abstract Objective: To record the temporal spatial parameters and metabolic energy expenditure during walking of individuals with amputation, walking with advanced prostheses, and after completion of comprehensive rehabilitation compared with able-bodied persons. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Multidisciplinary comprehensive rehabilitation center. Participants: Severely injured UK military personnel with amputation and subsequent completion of their rehabilitation program (nZ30; unilateral transtibial: nZ10, unilateral transfemoral: nZ10, and bilateral transfemoral: nZ10) were compared with able-bodied persons (nZ10) with similar age, height, and mass (P>.537). Total number of participants (N Z 40). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Temporal spatial and metabolic energy expenditure data were captured during walking on level ground at a selfselected speed. Results: The individuals with amputation were all men, with a mean age of 29 4 years and a mean New Injury Severity Score of 31 16. Walking speed, stride length, step length, and cadence of individuals with a unilateral transtibial or transfemoral amputation were comparable with able-bodied persons, and only individuals with a bilateral transfemoral amputation had a significantly slower walking speed (1.12m/s, PZ.025) and reduced cadence (96 steps per minute, PZ.026). Oxygen cost for individuals with a unilateral transtibial amputation (0.15mL/kg/m) was the same as for able-bodied persons (0.15mL/kg/m) and significantly increased by 20% (0.18mL/kg/m, PZ.023) for unilateral transfemoral amputation and by 60% (0.24mL/kg/m, P<.001) for bilateral transfemoral individuals with amputation. Conclusions: The scientific literature reports a wide range of gait and metabolic energy expenditure across individuals with amputation. The results of this study indicate that individuals with amputation have a gait pattern which is highly functional and efficient. This is comparable with a small number of studies reporting similar outcomes for individuals with a unilateral transtibial amputation, but the results from this study are better than those on individuals with transfemoral amputations reported elsewhere, despite comparison with populations wearing similar prosthetic componentry. Those studies that do report similar outcomes have included individuals who have been provided with a comprehensive rehabilitation program. This suggests that such a program may be as important as, or even more important than, prosthetic component selection in improving metabolic energy expenditure. The data are made available as a benchmark for what is achievable in the rehabilitation of some individuals with amputations, but agreeably may not be possible for all amputees to achieve.

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