Analysis of Dynamic Balance Control in Transtibial Amputees
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The powered prosthetic foot (PPF) is designed to provide transtibial amputees (TTA) with active propulsion and plantar flexion similar to that of the biological limb. Previous studies have demonstrated the PPF’s ability to increase TTA walking speeds, while reducing the energetic costs, however, little is known about its effects on dynamic balance control. The purpose of this study was to assess dynamic balance control in a sample of TTA subjects during level ground walking and obstacle-crossing tasks. Control subjects (n=5) and TTA subjects (n=3) were instructed to complete a series of functional walking tasks during each lab visit. The TTA subjects completed the walking protocol twice, first in their passive energy-storing prosthetic foot (ESPF) and again in the prescribed PPF after two weeks of acclimation. Motion data were collected via a 10-camera system with a 53-marker and 15-segment body model. Center of mass (CoM) motion within the frontal plane was analyzed and used as a functional indicator of dynamic balance control. Preliminary findings from the study indicate that TTA that are less able to maintain dynamic balance control may benefit from the PPF in restricting their M-L CoM motion. However, robust walkers who demonstrate balance control with the ESPF may be adversely affected by the PPF.