Individuals with unilateral transtibial amputations experience greater work demand and loading on the intact limb compared with the prosthetic limb, placing this limb at a greater risk of knee joint degenerative conditions. It is possible that increased loading on the intact side may occur due to strength deficits and joint absorption mechanics. This study investigated the intact limb mechanics utilized to attenuate load, independent of prosthetic limb contributions and requirements for forward progression, which could provide an indication of deficiencies in the intact limb. Amputee and healthy control participants completed 3 unilateral drop landings from a 30-cm drop height. Joint angles at touchdown; range of motion; coupling angles; peak powers; and negative work of the ankle, knee, and hip were extracted together with isometric quadriceps strength measures. No significant differences were found in the load or movement mechanics (P ≥ .31, g ≤ 0.42), despite deficits in isometric maximum (20%) and explosive (25%) strength (P ≤ .13, g ≥ 0.61) in the intact limb. These results demonstrate that, when the influence from the prosthetic limb and task demand are absent, and despite deficits in strength, the intact limb adopts joint mechanics similar to able-bodied controls to attenuate limb loading.
Moudy is with the Department of Life Sciences, Whitelands College, University of Roehampton, London, United Kingdom; and the Department of Family Medicine, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA. Tillin, Sibley, and Strike are with the Department of Life Sciences, University of Roehampton, London, United Kingdom. Sibley is also with the Department of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, United Kingdom.