Magnitude and variability of loading on the osseointegrated implant of transfemoral amputees during walking
This study directly measured the load acting on the abutment of the osseointegrated implant system of transfemoral amputees during level walking, and studied the variability of the load within and among amputees. Twelve active transfemoral amputees (age: 54 +/- 12 years, mass: 84.3 +/- 16.3 kg, height: 17.8 +/- 0.10 m) fitted with an osseointegrated implant for over 1 year participated in the study. The load applied on the abutment was measured during unimpeded, level walking in a straight line using a commercial six-channel transducer mounted between the abutment and the prosthetic knee. The pattern and the magnitude of the three-dimensional forces and moments were revealed. Results showed a low step-to-step variability of each subject, but a high subject-to-subject variability in local extrema of body-weight normalized forces and moments and impulse data. The high subject-to-subject variability suggests that the mechanical design of the implant system should be customized for each individual, or that a fit-all design should take into consideration the highest values of load within a broad range of amputees. It also suggests specific loading regime in rehabilitation training are necessary for a given subject. Thus the loading magnitude and variability demonstrated should be useful in designing an osseointegrated implant system better able to resist mechanical failure and in refining the rehabilitation protocol.