A Mechanical Descriptor of Instability in Human Locomotion: Experimental Findings in Control Subjects and People with Transfemoral Amputation
Article dans une revue avec comité de lecture
While multiple criteria to quantify gait instability exist, some limitations hinder their computation during realistic walking conditions. A descriptor, computed as the distance between the center of mass of the body and the minimal moment axis ( dCOM−Δ) , has been proposed recently. This present study aims at characterizing the behavior of the mentioned descriptor in a population at a higher risk of falls. Five individuals with transfemoral amputation and 14 healthy individuals were involved in an experiment composed of motion capture and force plates acquisition during overground walking at a self-selected speed. For both groups of participants, the profile of dCOM−Δ was analyzed and descriptive parameters were calculated. The plot of dCOM−Δ was different between groups and different relative to the leading limb considered (prosthetic or contralateral). All descriptive parameters calculated, except one, were statistically different between groups. As a conclusion, amputees seem to be able to limit the average of dCOM−Δ in spite of a different evolution pattern. This is consistent with the ability of the subjects to maintain their dynamic balance. However, the extracted parameters showed the significant asymmetry of the gait profile between prosthetic and contralateral stances and highlighted the potential sources of imbalance.
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