This investigation compared stance, swing, and double support times of a recent below-the-knee amputee (BKA) child’s gait with the gait of normal children and with that of experienced BKA children. Kinematic data were collected for 11 normal children, 2 experienced BKA children, and a novice BKA child. Results indicated there were significant differences between the steps of prosthetic and nonprosthetic limbs and between normals and BKAs. Initially the gait of the novice BKA differed from that of experienced BKAs. After 94 days the gait of the novice BKA was not significantly different from that of the experienced BKAs. It was concluded that since the structure and function of the prosthetic limb is not the same as normal, (a) it may be appropriate for the BKA child to have an asymmetrical gait pattern, and (b) rehabilitation may be directed toward teaching the recent BKA child to walk more like experienced BKAs than like normal children.
Jack Engsberg and Jocelyn Mills are with the Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of P.E., University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4. Kathy Tedford and James Harder are with Alberta Children’s Hospital, 1820 Richmond Rd. S.W., Calgary, Alberta T2T 5C7.