Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Integrative Physiology

First Advisor

Dr. Alena Grabowski


Background: Pediatric prosthetists and physical therapists have observed that use of prosthetic feet with different stiffnesses affects external hip rotation during walking in toddlers with unilateral transtibial amputations (TTAs). A protocol for prescribing pediatric prosthetic feet is needed to minimize injury from improper biomechanics.

Methods: 12 toddlers participated in this study (9 non-amputee, 3 with a TTA). Three custom passive prosthetic feet were made for each toddler with a TTA. Kinetic and kinematic data was at 0.50 m/s. Peak hip joint angles and range of motion were determined in the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes.

Results: The data suggest that use of a prosthetic foot more stiff than recommended most closely resembles non-amputee transverse hip angles throughout a stride. The recommended stiffness prosthetic foot led to a trend of greater peak hip external rotation compared to the non-amputee toddlers. Toddlers with a TTA exhibit a trend of greater peak hip joint flexion compared to non-amputee toddlers. There was no change in range of motion or symmetry with the varying stiffness prosthetic feet or between toddlers with a TTA and non-amputee toddlers.

Discussion: Our results suggest that prosthetic foot stiffness does not affect frontal or sagittal plane hip joint angles, but does affect transverse plane hip joint angles. Future research is needed to determine the ideal degree of hip external rotation to inform prosthetic foot design and minimize long-term functional deficits in toddlers with a TTA.

Included in

Biomechanics Commons