Effects of heel lifting on transtibial amputee gait before and after treadmill walking: a case study
BACKGROUND: Prosthetic alignment is usually unchanged once optimized. However, a previous study indicated that long-distance walking significantly altered gait patterns, suggesting some alignment adjustments after walking are required. This study investigated the effects of alignment changes (by inserting a heel lift) on gait of a transtibial amputee before and after treadmill walking. CASE DESCRIPTION AND METHODS: The subject walked, without heel lifts, on a treadmill until perception of fatigue. Gait changes upon heel lifting at the prosthetic side were studied before and after the treadmill walking FINDINGS AND OUTCOMES: For this subject before the treadmill walking, heel lifting induced drop-off with increased prosthetic-side knee flexion at mid-stance and pre-swing. The sound limb outreached to stabilize the gait. After the treadmill walking, the same heel lift did not induce drop-off. It reduced the plantar flexor power generation, potentially delaying its fatigue. CONCLUSION: After walking prosthetic-side heel lifting could be beneficial.