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Research: Amputees Felt Safer With Prosthetic Foot

Study participants who tested a microprocessor-controlled prosthetic foot component with adjustable stance-phase
characteristics, the Meridium, Ottobock, Duderstadt, Germany, reported
improvements in walking on level and uneven ground, and on ramps
compared to their previous prosthetic feet. Participants also perceived
benefits with safe, comfortable, and natural walking.

A study published online February 5 in Prosthetics and Orthotics International
examined individuals’ and prosthetists’ perception of safety, walking,
and satisfaction during first routine fittings. Data regarding
demographics, fitting process, safety, daily life activities, and
satisfaction were obtained through questionnaires. The follow-up period
was seven?months.

Of the
70 participants, 89 percent were satisfactorily fitted within the first
two visits. Compared to their previous prosthetic feet, 54 percent of
those participating in the study reported improvements in walking on
level ground, 82 percent on uneven ground, and ascending, and descending
ramps, 97 percent and 91 percent, respectively. More than 45 percent of
the users perceived an improvement in safety and stability while
standing and walking, the study found. No difference was observed in
concentration, exertion, and pain. Overall user satisfaction was 50
percent and the microprocessor-controlled foot was preferred by 40
percent of users. Amputation level, age, and mobility grade did not
influence subjects’ preference.

While
the perception of benefits regarding the negotiation of uneven terrain
and slopes was high, the correlation to product preference was moderate,
the study found.

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