Low back pain influences trunk-lower limb joint coordination and balance control during standing in persons with lower limb loss

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2022 Feb;92:105580. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2022.105580. Epub 2022 Jan 19.


Background: Balance is sustained through multi-joint coordination in response to postural perturbations. Low back pain alters postural responses; however, it is unknown how coordination between the trunk and lower extremities affects center of mass control during standing balance among persons with limb loss, particularly those with back pain.

Methods: Forty participants with unilateral lower limb loss (23 with back pain) stood with eyes open and closed on a firm surface, while wearing IMUs on the sternum, pelvis, and bilaterally on the thigh, shank, and foot. A state-space model with Kalman filter calculated sagittal trunk, hip, knee, and ankle joint angles. Fuzzy entropy quantified center of mass variability of sagittal angular velocity at the sacrum. Normalized cross-correlation functions identified coordination patterns (trunk-hip, trunk-knee, trunk-ankle). Multiple linear regression predicted fuzzy entropy from cross-correlation values for each pattern, with body mass and amputation level as covariates.

Findings: With eyes open, trunk-lower limb joint coordination on either limb did not predict fuzzy entropy. With eyes closed, positive trunk-hip coordination on the intact limb predicted fuzzy entropy in the pain group (p = 0.02), but not the no pain group. On the prosthetic side, inverse trunk-hip coordination patterns predicted fuzzy entropy in pain group (p = 0.03) only.

Interpretation: Persons with limb loss and back pain demonstrated opposing coordination strategies between the lower limbs and trunk when vision was removed, perhaps identifying a mechanism for pain recurrence. Vision is the dominant source of balance stabilization in this population, which may increase fall risk when visual feedback is compromised.

Keywords: Amputation; Biomechanics; Postural control; Sensors.

MeSH terms

  • Amputees*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain*
  • Lower Extremity
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Torso