Effect of speed on the energy cost of walking in unilateral traumatic lower limb amputees

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008 Aug;103(6):655-63. doi: 10.1007/s00421-008-0764-0. Epub 2008 May 14.


In this work, the effect of walking speed on the energy expenditure in traumatic lower-limb amputees was studied. The oxygen consumption was measured in 10 transfemoral amputees, 9 transtibial amputees and 13 control subjects, while they stood and walked at different speeds from 0.3 m s(-1) to near their maximum sustainable speed. Standing energy expenditure rate was the same in lower-limb amputees and in control subjects (approximately 1.85 W kg(-1)). On the contrary, during walking, the net energy expenditure rate was 30-60% greater in transfemoral amputees and 0-15% greater in transtibial amputees than in control subjects. The maximal sustainable speed was about 1.2 m s(-1) in transfemoral amputees and 1.6 m s(-1) in transtibial amputees, whereas it was above 2 m s(-1) in control subjects. Among these three groups, the cost of transport versus speed presented a U-shaped curve; the minimum cost increased with the level of amputation, and the speed at which this minimum occurred decreased.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amputation, Traumatic / metabolism
  • Amputation, Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Amputees / rehabilitation*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Female
  • Femur / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Tibia / injuries*
  • Walking*