Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics
Introduction Despite rehabilitation and gait training, the gait of individuals with lower-limb amputation is often asymmetric and falls and/or fear of falling are common. Clinical assessments of balance and stability include the Berg BalanceScale and the Dynamic Gait Index. Biomechanical assessments, conducted largely in research laboratories, are more objective, quantitative, and may provide greater resolution. These biomechanical measures include postural sway during both unilateral and bilateral standing tasks and the dynamic postural response to applied or volitional perturbations. The objective of this study was to investigate the utility of a dynamic balance system, a relatively new clinical tool incorporating dual force plates similar to that used in research laboratories, to assess the postural steadiness and stability of a small, diverse population of persons with lower-limb amputation. The specific aim was to investigate whether differences in balance of persons with amputation due to changes in prosthetic componentry were reflected in the resultant data.
Materials and Methods Dynamic balance testing was conducted using the Bertec Balance Advantage–Dynamic CDP system on five adult subjects with varying levels of lower-limb amputation. Trials were conducted in both the subjects' current prosthesis and alternative prosthetic componentry after a 1-week acclimation period. Specific tasks included limits of stability, weight-bearing squats, and unilateral stance.
Results Subjects had difficulty shifting their weight during the limits of stability task; both the maximum excursion and anteroposterior directional control varied with prosthetic componentry. Load sharing also varied with prosthetic componentry. Load sharing became more asymmetric as knee flexion increased during the weight-bearing bilateral squat tasks, with less weight supported on the prosthetic limb. Finally, the metrics for the unilateral stance task varied with prosthetic componentry.
Conclusions The dynamic balance system tasks and related metrics demonstrated the potential to discern differences in balance in persons with amputation due to changes in prosthetic componentry. Further study is needed to investigate these parameters, their correlation with clinical measures of balance, and the effects of both prosthetic componentry and alignment.
Silver-Thorn, M. Barbara PhD; Kempfer, Joel; Schnorenberg, Alyssa J.; and Slavens, Brooke, "Use of a Dynamic Balance System to Quantify Postural Steadiness and Stability of Individuals with Lower-Limb Amputation: A Pilot Study" (2018). Biomedical Engineering Faculty Research and Publications. 590.
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