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01.12.2019 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 1/2019

Effects of extended powered knee prosthesis stance time via visual feedback on gait symmetry of individuals with unilateral amputation: a preliminary study

Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation > Ausgabe 1/2019
Andrea Brandt, William Riddick, Jonathan Stallrich, Michael Lewek, He Helen Huang
Wichtige Hinweise
This study was performed at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Establishing gait symmetry is a major aim of amputee rehabilitation and may be more attainable with powered prostheses. Though, based on previous work, we postulate that users transfer a previously-learned motor pattern across devices, limiting the functionality of more advanced prostheses. The objective of this study was to preliminarily investigate the effect of increased stance time via visual feedback on amputees’ gait symmetry using powered and passive knee prostheses.


Five individuals with transfemoral amputation or knee disarticulation walked at their self-selected speed on a treadmill. Visual feedback was used to promote an increase in the amputated-limb stance time. Individuals were fit with a commercially-available powered prosthesis by a certified prosthetist and practiced walking during a prior visit. The same protocol was completed with a passive knee and powered knee prosthesis on separate days. We used repeated-measures, two-way ANOVA (alpha = 0.05) to test for significant effects of the feedback and device factors. Our main outcome measures were stance time asymmetry, peak anterior-posterior ground reaction forces, and peak anterior propulsion asymmetry.


Increasing the amputated-limb stance time via visual feedback significantly improved the stance time symmetry (p = 0.012) and peak propulsion symmetry (p = 0.036) of individuals walking with both prostheses. With the powered knee prosthesis, the highest feedback target elicited 36% improvement in stance time symmetry, 22% increase in prosthesis-side peak propulsion, and 47% improvement in peak propulsion symmetry compared to a no feedback condition. The changes with feedback were not different with the passive prosthesis, and the main effects of device/ prosthesis type were not statistically different. However, subject by device interactions were significant, indicating individuals did not respond consistently with each device (e.g. prosthesis-side propulsion remained comparable to or was greater with the powered versus passive prosthesis for different subjects). Overall, prosthesis-side peak propulsion averaged across conditions was 31% greater with the powered prosthesis and peak propulsion asymmetry improved by 48% with the powered prosthesis.


Increasing prosthesis-side stance time via visual feedback favorably improved individuals’ temporal and propulsive symmetry. The powered prosthesis commonly enabled greater propulsion, but individuals adapted to each device with varying behavior, requiring further investigation.
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