Gait asymmetry is a predictor of fall risk and may contribute to increased falls during pregnancy. Previous work indicates that pregnant women experience asymmetric joint laxity and pelvic tilt during standing and asymmetric joint moments and angles during walking. How these changes translate to other measures of gait asymmetry remains unclear. Thus, the purpose of this case study was to determine the relationships between pregnancy progression, subsequent pregnancies, and gait asymmetry. Walking data were collected from an individual during 2 consecutive pregnancies during the second and third trimesters and 6 months postpartum of her first pregnancy and the first, second, and third trimesters and 6 months postpartum of her second pregnancy. Existing asymmetries in step length, anterior–posterior (AP) impulses, AP peak ground reaction forces, lateral impulses, and joint work systematically increased as her pregnancy progressed. These changes in asymmetry may be attributed to pelvic asymmetry, leading to asymmetric hip flexor and extensor length, or due to asymmetric plantar flexor strength, as suggested by her ankle work asymmetry. Relative to her first pregnancy, she had greater asymmetry in step length, step width, braking AP impulse, propulsive AP impulse, and peak braking AP ground reaction force during her second pregnancy, which may have resulted from increased joint laxity.
Aude S. Lefranc, Glenn K. Klute, and Richard R. Neptune
Corey A. Pew, Sarah A. Roelker, Glenn K. Klute, and Richard R. Neptune
The coupling between the residual limb and the lower-limb prosthesis is not rigid. As a result, external loading produces movement between the prosthesis and residual limb that can lead to undesirable soft-tissue shear stresses. As these stresses are difficult to measure, limb loading is commonly used as a surrogate. However, the relationship between limb loading and the displacements responsible for those stresses remains unknown. To better understand the limb motion within the socket, an inverse kinematic analysis was performed to estimate the motion between the socket and tibia for 10 individuals with a transtibial amputation performing walking and turning activities at 3 different speeds. The authors estimated the rotational stiffness of the limb-socket body to quantify the limb properties when coupled with the socket and highlight how this approach could help inform prosthetic prescriptions. Results showed that peak transverse displacement had a significant, linear relationship with peak transverse loading. Stiffness of the limb-socket body varied significantly between individuals, activities (walking and turning), and speeds. These results suggest that transverse limb loading can serve as a surrogate for residual-limb shear stress and that the setup of a prosthesis could be individually tailored using standard motion capture and inverse kinematic analyses.