Gait and balance of transfemoral amputees using passive mechanical and microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knees

Gait Posture. 2007 Oct;26(4):489-93. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2007.07.011. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


Background: Microprocessor-controlled knee joints appeared on the market a decade ago. These joints are more sophisticated and more expensive than mechanical ones. The literature is contradictory regarding changes in gait and balance when using these sophisticated devices.

Methods: This study employed a crossover design to assess the comparative performance of a passive mechanical knee prosthesis compared to a microprocessor-controlled knee joint in 15 subjects with an above-knee amputation. Objective measurements of gait and balance were obtained.

Results: Subjects demonstrated significantly improved gait characteristics after receiving the microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joint (p<0.01). Improvements in gait were a transition from a hyperextended knee to a flexed knee during loading response which resulted in a change from an internal knee flexor moment to a knee extensor moment. The participants' balance also improved (p<0.01). All conditions of the Sensory Organization Test (SOT) demonstrated improvements in equilibrium score. The composite score also increased.

Conclusions: Transfemoral amputees using a microprocessor-controlled knee have significant improvements in gait and balance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Amputees / rehabilitation*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis*
  • Microcomputers*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance*
  • Prosthesis Design