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Gait and Posture
Volume 24, Issue 1, August 2006, Pages 4-13

Behavioral outcomes following below-knee amputation in the coordination between balance and leg movement

Mouchnino, L., Mille, M.-L., Martin, N., Baroni, G., Cincera, M., Bardot, A., Delarque, A., Massion, J. , Pedotti, A.

Abstract

Lateral leg movement is accompanied by opposite movements of the supporting leg and trunk segments. This kinematic synergy shifts the center of mass (CM) towards the supporting foot and stabilizes its final position, while the leg movement is being performed. The aim of the present study was to provide insight in the behavioral substitution process responsible for the performance of this kinematic synergy. The kinematic synergy was assessed by the principal component analysis (PCA) applied to both hip joints and supporting ankle joint. Patients after unilateral below-knee amputation and control subjects were asked to perform a lateral leg raising. The first principal component (PC1) accounted for more than 99% of the total angular variance for all subjects (amputees and controls). PC1 thus well represents the possibility to describe this complex multi-joint movement as a one degree of freedom movement with fixed ratios between joint angular time course. In control subjects, the time covariation between joints changes holds during all phases of the leg movement (postural phase, ascending and braking phases). In amputees, PC1 score decreased during the ascending phase of the movement (i.e. when the body weight transfer is completed, while the movement is initiated). We conclude that a feedback mechanism is involved and discuss the hypothesis that this inter-joint coordination in amputees results from a failure in the pre-setting of the inter-joint coupling.

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