The lack of functional ankle musculature in lower limb amputees contributes to the reduced prosthetic ankle push-off, compensations at other joints and more energetically costly gait commonly observed in comparison to non-amputees. A variety of energy storing and return prosthetic feet have been developed to address these issues but have not been shown to sufficiently improve amputee biomechanics and energetic cost, perhaps because the timing and magnitude of energy return is not controlled. The goal of this study was to examine how a prototype microprocessor-controlled prosthetic foot designed to store some of the energy during loading and return it during push-off affects amputee gait. Unilateral transtibial amputees wore the Controlled Energy Storage and Return prosthetic foot (CESR), a conventional foot (CONV), and their previously prescribed foot (PRES) in random order. Three-dimensional gait analysis and net oxygen consumption were collected as participants walked at constant speed. The CESR foot demonstrated increased energy storage during early stance, increased prosthetic foot peak push-off power and work, increased prosthetic limb center of mass (COM) push-off work and decreased intact limb COM collision work compared to CONV and PRES. The biological contribution of the positive COM work for CESR was reduced compared to CONV and PRES. However, the net metabolic cost for CESR did not change compared to CONV and increased compared to PRES, which may partially reflect the greater weight, lack of individualized size and stiffness and relatively less familiarity for CESR and CONV. Controlled energy storage and return enhanced prosthetic push-off, but requires further design modifications to improve amputee walking economy.
- Metabolic cost
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology