• Understanding adaptive gait in lower-limb amputees: insights from multivariate analyses

      Buckley, John G.; De Asha, Alan R.; Johnson, Louise; Beggs, Clive B. (2013-08-16)
      In this paper we use multivariate statistical techniques to gain insights into how adaptive gait involving obstacle crossing is regulated in lower-limb amputees compared to able-bodied controls, with the aim of identifying underlying characteristics that differ between the two groups and consequently highlighting gait deficits in the amputees. Eight unilateral trans-tibial amputees and twelve able-bodied controls completed adaptive gait trials involving negotiating various height obstacles; with amputees leading with their prosthetic limb. Spatiotemporal variables that are regularly used to quantify how gait is adapted when crossing obstacles were determined and subsequently analysed using multivariate statistical techniques. There were fundamental differences in the adaptive gait between the two groups. Compared to controls, amputees had a reduced approach velocity, reduced foot placement distance before and after the obstacle and reduced foot clearance over it, and reduced lead-limb knee flexion during the step following crossing. Logistic regression analysis highlighted the variables that best distinguished between the gait of the two groups and multiple regression analysis (with approach velocity as a controlling factor) helped identify what gait adaptations were driving the differences seen in these variables. Getting closer to the obstacle before crossing it appeared to be a strategy to ensure the heel of the lead-limb foot passed over the obstacle prior to the foot being lowered to the ground. Despite adopting such a heel clearance strategy, the lead-foot was positioned closer to the obstacle following crossing, which was likely a result of a desire to attain a limb/foot angle and orientation at instant of landing that minimised loads on the residuum (as evidenced by the reduced lead-limb knee flexion during the step following crossing). These changes in foot placement meant the foot was in a different part of swing at point of crossing and this explains why foot clearance was considerably reduced in amputees. The results highlight that trans-tibial amputees use quite different gait adaptations to cross obstacles compared with controls (at least when leading with their prosthetic limb), indicating they are governed by different constraints; seemingly related to how they land on/load their prosthesis after crossing the obstacle.
    • Walking speed related joint kinetic alterations in trans-tibial amputees: impact of hydraulic 'ankle' damping

      De Asha, Alan R.; Munjal, R.; Kulkarni, J.; Buckley, John G. (2013)
      Passive prosthetic devices are set up to provide optimal function at customary walking speed and thus may function less effectively at other speeds. This partly explains why joint kinetic adaptations become more apparent in lower-limb amputees when walking at speeds other than customary. The present study determined whether a trans-tibial prosthesis incorporating a dynamic-response foot that was attached to the shank via an articulating hydraulic device (hyA-F) lessened speed-related adaptations in joint kinetics compared to when the foot was attached via a rigid, non-articulating attachment (rigF). Eight active unilateral trans-tibial amputees completed walking trials at their customary walking speed, and at speeds they deemed to be slow-comfortable and fast-comfortable whilst using each type of foot attachment. Moments and powers at the distal end of the prosthetic shank and at the intact joints of both limbs were compared between attachment conditions. There was no change in the amount of intact-limb ankle work across speed or attachment conditions. As speed level increased there was an increase on both limbs in the amount of hip and knee joint work done, and increases on the prosthetic side were greater when using the hyA-F. However, because all walking speed levels were higher when using the hyA-F, the intact-limb ankle and combined joints work per meter travelled were significantly lower; particularly so at the customary speed level. This was the case despite the hyA-F dissipating more energy during stance. In addition, the amount of eccentric work done per meter travelled became increased at the residual knee when using the hyA-F, with increases again greatest at customary speed. Findings indicate that a trans-tibial prosthesis incorporating a dynamic-response foot reduced speed-related changes in compensatory intact-limb joint kinetics when the foot was attached via an articulating hydraulic device compared to rigid attachment. As differences between attachment conditions were greatest at customary speed, findings indicate a hydraulic ankle-foot device is most effectual at the speed it is set-up for.