Reducing stiffness of shock-absorbing pylon amplifies prosthesis energy loss and redistributes joint mechanical work during walking



Abstract Background A shock-absorbing pylon (SAP) is a modular prosthetic component designed to attenuate impact forces, which unlike traditional pylons that are rigid, can compress to absorb, return, or dissipate energy. Previous studies found that walking with a SAP improved lower-limb prosthesis users’ comfort and residual limb pain. While longitudinal stiffness of a SAP has been shown to affect gait kinematics, kinetics, and work done by the entire lower limb, the energetic contributions from the prosthesis and the intact joints have not been examined. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of SAP stiffness and walking speed on the mechanical work contributions of the prosthesis (i.e., all components distal to socket), knee, and hip in individuals with a transtibial amputation. Methods Twelve participants with unilateral transtibial amputation walked overground at their customary (1.22 ± 0.18 ms−1) and fast speeds (1.53 ± 0.29 ms−1) under four different levels of SAP stiffness. Power and mechanical work profiles of the leg joints and components distal to the socket were quantified. The effects of SAP stiffness and walking speed on positive and negative work were analyzed using two-factor (stiffness and speed) repeated-measure ANOVAs (α = 0.05). Results Faster walking significantly increased mechanical work from the SAP-integrated prosthesis (p
Date made available2021

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