Brief report| Volume 96, ISSUE 1, P154-157, January 2015

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Mediolateral Joint Powers at the Low Back Among Persons With Unilateral Transfemoral Amputation

  • Brad D. Hendershot
    Corresponding author Brad D. Hendershot, PhD, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, America Bld (19), Rm B-322, 8901 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20889.
    Department of Rehabilitation, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD

    Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
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  • Erik J. Wolf
    Department of Rehabilitation, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD

    Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence, Bethesda, MD
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Published:August 04, 2014DOI:



      To analyze mediolateral joint powers at the low back during gait among persons with and without unilateral transfemoral amputation to better understand the functional contributions of tissues in and around the low back to altered lateral trunk movements in this population.


      Retrospective analysis of biomechanical gait data.


      Gait laboratory.


      Twenty persons with unilateral transfemoral amputation and 20 uninjured controls (N=40).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Net joint powers, and total generation (+) and absorption (−) energies, at the low back (L5/S1 spinal level) were analyzed in the frontal plane using inverse dynamics analyses on over-ground gait data collected at self-selected walking speeds (∼1.3m/s).


      Compared with uninjured controls, 4 distinctly larger positive phases of mediolateral joint power at L5/S1 were evident in persons with transfemoral amputation, occurring before and after each heel strike. Total generation energies throughout the gait cycle were also larger (P<.001) among persons with transfemoral amputation (4.8±1.4J) than among uninjured controls (1.3±0.7J).


      Larger positive phases of joint power at L5/S1 in the frontal plane support previous suggestions that persons with transfemoral amputation use a more active mediolateral trunk movement strategy, although such an active trunk movement strategy with transfemoral amputation may contribute to higher metabolic energy expenditures and low back pain risk.


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