July 2015

PROSTHETICS: Foot strike pattern can affect load in amputee runners too

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Foot strike pattern during running affects loading in unilateral lower limb amputees, as it does in able-bodied runners, according to research from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Four unilateral lower limb amputee runners were analyzed while running on a treadmill with a forefoot strike or a rearfoot strike pattern in the sound limb. Three of the runners (one below-knee, one above-knee, and one through-knee amputee) were habitual rearfoot strikers, while one below-knee amputee was a habitual forefoot striker.

The forefoot strike pattern was associated with significantly lower impact peak and loading rate than rearfoot strike running in all four amputees. The effects on heart rate were more variable; forefoot strike running was associated with a faster heart rate than rearfoot striking in two of the habitual rearfoot strikers (the above-knee and through-knee amputees), a slower heart rate in the habitual forefoot striker, and no change in the third habitual rearfoot striker.

The findings were presented as a poster in June at the 2015 ISPO World Congress.


Choi WC. Effects of footstrike on the loading and heart rate in a group of top amputee runners with running-specific prosthesis in Hong Kong. Presented at the International Society of Prosthetics & Orthotics World Congress, Lyon, France, June 2015.

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