Vertical stiffness during one-legged hopping with and without using a running-specific prosthesis

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Although athletes with unilateral below-the-knee amputations (BKAs) generally use their affected leg, including their prosthesis, as their take-off leg for the long jump, little is known about the spring-like leg behavior and stiffness regulation of the affected leg. The purpose of this study was to investigate vertical stiffness during one-legged hopping in an elite-level long jump athlete with a unilateral BKA. We used the spring-mass model to calculate vertical stiffness, which equals the ratio of maximum vertical ground reaction force to maximum center of mass displacement, while the athlete with a BKA hopped on one leg at a range of frequencies. Then, we compared the vertical stiffness of this athlete to seven non-amputee elite-level long-jumpers. We found that from 1.8 to 3.4 Hz, the vertical stiffness of the unaffected leg for an athlete with a BKA increases with faster hopping frequencies, but the vertical stiffness of the affected leg remains nearly constant across frequencies. The athlete with a BKA attained the desired hopping frequencies at 2.2 and 2.6 Hz, but was unable to match the lowest (1.8 Hz) and two highest frequencies (3.0 and 3.4 Hz) using his affected leg. We also found that at 2.5 Hz, unaffected leg vertical stiffness was 15% greater than affected leg vertical stiffness, and the vertical stiffness of non-amputee long-jumpers was 32% greater than the affected leg vertical stiffness of an athlete with a BKA. The results of the present study suggest that the vertical stiffness regulation strategy of an athlete with a unilateral BKA is not the same in the unaffected versus affected legs, and compared to non-amputees.
OriginalspracheEnglisch
ZeitschriftJournal of biomechanics
ISSN0021-9290
DOIs
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.02.2019

ID: 3606938

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