Walking and Balance in Children and Adolescents with Lower-limb Amputation: A Review of Literature


Exercise Science and Sport Management

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Background Children with lower limb loss face gait and balance limitations. Prosthetic rehabilitation is thus aimed at improving functional capacity and mobility throughout the developmental phases of the child amputee. This review of literature was conducted to determine the characteristics of prosthetic gait and balance among children and adolescents with lower-limb amputation or other limb loss. Methods Both qualitative and quantitative studies were included in this review and data were organized by amputation etiology, age range and level of amputation. Findings The findings indicated that the structural differences between children with lower-limb amputations and typically developing children lead to functional differences. Significant differences with respect to typically developing children were found in spatiotemporal, kinematic, and kinematic parameters and ground-reaction forces. Children with transtibial amputation place significantly larger load on their intact leg compared to the prosthetic leg during balance tasks. In more complex dynamic balance tests, they generally score lower than their typically developing peers. Interpretation There is limited literature pertaining to improving physical therapy protocols, especially for different age groups, targeting gait and balance enhancements. Understanding gait and balance patterns of children with lower-limb amputation will benefit the design of prosthetic components and mobility rehabilitation protocols that improve long-term outcomes through adulthood.

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Clinical Biomechanics

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