Microprocessor knees with 'standing support' and articulating, hydraulic ankles improve balance control and inter-limb loading during quiet standing
Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering
Trans-femoral amputees are at risk of musculoskeletal problems that are in part caused by loading asymmetry during activities, such as prolonged standing, particularly on uneven or sloped ground. Four prosthetic conditions were tested; microprocessor knee 'standing support' mode activated (ON) and deactivated (OFF), combined with a rigidly attached foot (RA) and with an articulating, hydraulic ankle-foot (HA). Five trans-femoral amputees and five able-bodied controls were measured using a
... capture system and a force plate while standing, facing down a 5° slope. Ground reaction force distributions and centre-of-pressure root-mean-square (COP RMS) were calculated as outcome measures. Compensatory kinematic adjustments were observed for RA conditions but not for HA conditions. HA-OFF reduced ground reaction force degree-of-asymmetry for all five amputees, compared to RA-OFF. RA-ON reduced ground reaction force degree-of-asymmetry for four amputees, compared to RA-OFF. In terms of balance, the HA conditions reduced the mean inter-limb COP RMS by 24-25% compared to equivalent RA conditions, while ON conditions reduced it by 9-11%, compared to equivalent OFF conditions. It is important to consider both prosthetic knee and ankle technologies when prescribing devices to trans-femoral amputees. The combination of hydraulic ankle and knee standing support technologies produced outcomes closest to normal biomechanics.