Background: Prosthetic knee joint function is important in the rehabilitation of individuals with transfemoral amputation. Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the gait patterns associated with two types of mechanical stance control prosthetic knee joints—weight-activated braking knee and automatic stance-phase lock knee. It was hypothesized that biomechanical differences exist between the two knee types, including a prolonged swing-phase duration and exaggerated pelvic movements for the weight-activated braking knee during gait. Study design: Prospective crossover study. Methods: Spatiotemporal, kinematic, and kinetic parameters were obtained via instrumented gait analysis for 10 young adults with a unilateral transfemoral amputation. Discrete gait parameters were extracted based on their magnitudes and timing. Results: A 1.01% ± 1.14% longer swing-phase was found for the weight-activated braking knee (p < 0.05). The prosthetic ankle push-off also occurred earlier in the gait cycle for the weight-activated braking knee. Anterior pelvic tilt was 3.3 ± 3.0 degrees greater for the weight-activated braking knee. This range of motion was also higher (p < 0.05) and associated with greater hip flexion angles. Conclusions: Stance control affects biomechanics primarily in the early and late stance associated with prosthetic limb loading and unloading. The prolonged swing-phase time for the weight-activated braking knee may be associated with the need for knee unloading to initiate knee flexion during gait. The differences in pelvic tilt may be related to knee stability and possibly the different knee joint stance control mechanisms. Clinical relevance: Understanding the influence of knee function on gait biomechanics is important in selecting and improving treatments and outcomes for individuals with lower-limb amputations. Weight-activated knee joints may result in undesired gait deviations associated with stability in early stance-phase, and swing-phase initiation in the late stance-phase of gait.
- weight-activated knee
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)