Evaluation of function, performance, and preference as transfemoral amputees transition from mechanical to microprocessor control of the prosthetic knee

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Feb;88(2):207-17. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2006.10.030.


Objective: To evaluate differences in function, performance, and preference between mechanical and microprocessor prosthetic knee control technologies.

Design: A-B-A-B reversal design.

Setting: Home, community, and laboratory environments.

Participants: Twenty-one unilateral, transfemoral amputees.

Intervention: Mechanical control prosthetic knee versus microprocessor control prosthetic knee (Otto Bock C-Leg).

Main outcome measures: Stair rating, hill rating and time, obstacle course time, divided attention task accuracy and time, Amputee Mobility Predictor score, step activity, Prosthesis Evaluation Questionnaire score, Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey score, self-reported frequency of stumbles and falls, and self-reported concentration required for ambulation.

Results: Stair descent score, hill descent time, and hill sound-side step length showed significant (P<.01) improvement with the C-Leg. Users reported a significant (P<.05) decrease in frequency of stumbles and falls, frustration with falling, and difficulty in multitasking while using the microprocessor knee. Subject satisfaction with the C-Leg was significantly (P<.001) greater than the mechanical control prosthesis.

Conclusions: The study population showed improved performance when negotiating stairs and hills, reduced frequency of stumbling and falling, and a preference for the microprocessor control C-Leg as compared with the mechanical control prosthetic knee.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputees / rehabilitation*
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Male
  • Microcomputers*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking / physiology*