Persons with lower-limb amputation have impaired trunk postural control while maintaining seated balance

Virginia Tech - Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.
Gait & posture (Impact Factor: 2.75). 02/2013; 38(3). DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.01.008
Source: PubMed


Abnormal mechanics of movement resulting from lower-limb amputation (LLA) may increase stability demands on the spinal column and/or alter existing postural control mechanisms and neuromuscular responses. A seated balance task was used to investigate the effects of LLA on trunk postural control and stability, among eight males with unilateral LLA (4 transtibial, 4 transfemoral), and eight healthy, non-amputation controls (matched by age, stature, and body mass). Traditional measures derived from center of pressure (COP) time series, and measures obtained from non-linear stabilogram diffusion analyses, were used to characterize trunk postural control. All traditional measures of postural control (95% ellipse area, RMS distance, and mean velocity) were significantly larger among participants with LLA. Non-linear stabilogram diffusion analyses also revealed significant differences in postural control among persons with LLA, but only in the antero-posterior direction. Normalized trunk muscle activity was also larger among participants with LLA. Larger COP-based sway measures among participants with LLA during seated balance suggest an association between LLA and reduced trunk postural control. Reductions in postural control and spinal stability may be a result of adaptations in functional tissue properties and/or neuromuscular responses, and may potentially be caused by repetitive exposure to abnormal gait and movement. Such alterations could then lead to an increased risk for spinal instability, intervertebral motions beyond physiological limits, and pain.

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Available from: Brad Hendershot, Jan 06, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Repetitive exposures to altered gait and movement following lower-limb amputation (LLA) have been suggested to contribute to observed alterations in passive tissue properties and neuromuscular control in/surrounding the lumbar spine. These alterations, in turn, may affect the synergy between passive and active tissues during trunk movements. Eight males with unilateral LLA and eight non-amputation controls completed quasi-static trunk flexion-extension movements in seven distinct conditions of rotation in the transverse plane: 0° (sagittally-symmetric), ±15°, ±30°, and ±45° (sagittally-asymmetric). Electromyographic (EMG) activity of the bilateral lumbar erector spinae and lumbar kinematics were simultaneously recorded. Peak lumbar flexion and EMG-off angles were determined, along with the difference (“DIFF”) between these two angles and the magnitude of peak normalized EMG activities. Persons with unilateral LLA exhibited altered and asymmetric synergies between active and passive trunk tissues during both sagitally-symmetric and -asymmetric trunk flexion movements. Specifically, decreased and asymmetric passive contributions to trunk movements were compensated with increases in the magnitude and duration of active trunk muscle responses. Such alterations in trunk passive and active neuromuscular responses may result from repetitive exposures to abnormal gait and movement subsequent to LLA, and may increase the risk for LBP in this population.
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