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The aim of this study was to develop a normative sample of step frequency and step length during maximal sprinting in amputee sprinters. We analyzed elite-level 100-m races of 255 amputees and 93 able-bodied sprinters, both men and women, from publicly-available Internet broadcasts. For each sprinter’s run, the average forward velocity, step frequency, and step length over the 100-m distance were analyzed by using the official record and number of steps in each race. The average forward velocity was greatest in able-bodied sprinters (10.04 ± 0.17 m/s), followed by bilateral transtibial (8.77 ± 0.27 m/s), unilateral transtibial (8.65 ± 0.30 m/s), and transfemoral amputee sprinters (7.65 ± 0.38 m/s) in men. Differences in velocity among 4 groups were associated with step length (able-bodied vs transtibial amputees) or both step frequency and step length (able-bodied vs transfemoral amputees). Although we also found that the velocity was greatest in able-bodied sprinters (9.10 ± 0.14 m/s), followed by unilateral transtibial (7.08 ± 0.26 m/s), bilateral transtibial (7.06 ± 0.48 m/s), and transfemoral amputee sprinters (5.92 ± 0.33 m/s) in women, the differences in the velocity among the groups were associated with both step frequency and step length. Current results suggest that spatiotemporal parameters during a 100-m race of amputee sprinters is varied by amputation levels and sex.
Hiroaki Hobara, Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Thijs A. Heldoorn, and Masaaki Mochimaru are with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Tokyo, Japan. Wolfgang Potthast is with the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany; and ARCUS Clinics, Pforzheim, Germany. Ralf Müller is with the Institute of Biomechanics and Orthopedics, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany.