Hip Joint Contact Loading and Muscle Forces during Running with a Transtibial Amputation

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People with unilateral transtibial amputations (TTA) have greater risks of bilateral hip osteoarthritis, related to asymmetric biomechanics compared to people without TTA. Running is beneficial for physical health and is gaining popularity. However, people with TTA may not have access to running-specific prostheses (RSPs), which are designed for running, and may instead run using their daily-use prosthesis (DUP). Differences in joint loading may result from prosthesis choice; thus, it is important to characterize changes in peak and impulsive hip joint contact loading during running. Six people with and without TTA ran at 3.5 m/s while ground reaction forces, kinematics, and electromyography were collected. People with TTA ran using their own RSP and DUP. Musculoskeletal models incorporating prosthesis type of each individual were used to quantify individual muscle forces and hip joint contact forces (HJCFs) during running. People using RSPs had smaller bilateral peak hip joint contact forces compared to when wearing DUPs during stance and swing, and a smaller impulse over the entire gait cycle. Greater amputated leg peak hip joint contact forces for people wearing DUPs compared to RSPs occurred with greater forces from the ipsilateral gluteus maximus during stance. People with TTA also had greater bilateral peak hip joint contact forces during swing compared to people without TTA, which occurred with greater peak gluteus medius forces. Running with more compliant RSPs may be beneficial for long-term joint health by reducing peak and impulsive hip loading compared to DUPs.

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