Effect on gait in amputees carrying a weighted backpack
There are many scenarios where it becomes necessary to carry a load, and a back pack is often the most realistic option to carry this load. The additional load is thought to lead to changes in kinematics of the persons movement. This hypothesis, however, is not supported by results of this study. Asymmetry in movement did not significantly alter centre of pressure (COP) parameters for an amputee carrying a loaded backpack.
For transtibial amputees, there are general asymmetries in gait patterns. This research looks at the additional impact that a weighted impact may have on level ground (LG), uneven ground (UN), going up a slope (RU) and down a slope (RD).
COP was not dramatically altered by introduction of the backpack, showing good compensation. The observation was made, that carrying a backpack slowed walking speed (in part) due to a significant increased time spent in the double support phase (RU was an exception). The peak total force, normalised to body weight, was not significantly altered. This indicates that the pattern of loading of the body and therefore acceleration is controlled and maintained by the individual.
In loaded and unloaded conditions the intact limb consistently took more of the weight and had more variation in COP. This is postulated to be due to the lack of active ankle support available in the prosthetic limb. Further investigation into the relative movement of joints would be necessary to examine the route of movement compensations.
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Try putting a significant weight in a backpack, does it alter the way you walk or can you feel some muscles working harder in your legs?
> From: Sinitski et al., Appl Ergon 52 (2016) 169-176(Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.