University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Assessment of transfemoral amputees using C-Leg and Power Knee for ascending and descending inclines and steps


Wolf EJ, Everding VQ, Linberg AL, Schnall BL, Czerniecki JM, Gambel JM



Publication Info:

J Rehabil Res Dev, 49(6):831-842


Adding active power to a prosthetic knee unit may improve function and reduce the potential for overuse injuries in persons with transfemoral amputation (TFA). Servicemembers who have sustained a TFA are often young and motivated to perform at high functional levels. The goal of this article is to compare the biomechanics of ramp and stair descent and ascent for participants using the C-Leg and the Power Knee (PK). Subjects were asked to ascend and descend an instrumented staircase and 12 degree ramp at their comfortable pace while equipped with retroreflective markers. Temporal-spatial and kinetic data were collected. Knee power generated by the nondisabled limb during stair ascent for subjects wearing the C-Leg was significantly greater than for those wearing the PK. Knee power generated by prosthetic knee units was significantly greater for subjects while wearing the PK. Although the PK reduced the power required from the nondisabled knee during stair climbing, it does not appear to be superior to the C-Leg for other tasks. Adding power to a prosthetic knee may reduce wear on the nondisabled limb; however, there are still limitations that require improvement.

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