Changes in Trunk and Pelvis Motion Among Persons With Unilateral Lower Limb Loss During the First Year of Ambulation

Caitlin E. Mahon, Courtney M. Butowicz, Christopher L. Dearth, Brad D. Hendershot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To retrospectively investigate trunk-pelvis kinematic outcomes among persons with unilateral transtibial and transfemoral limb loss with time from initial independent ambulation with a prosthesis, while secondarily describing self-reported presence and intensity of low back pain. Over time, increasing trunk-pelvis range of motion and decreasing trunk-pelvis coordination with increasing presence and/or intensity of low back pain were hypothesized. Additionally, less trunk-pelvis range of motion and more trunk-pelvis coordination for persons with more distal limb loss was hypothesized. Design: Inception cohort with up to 5 repeated evaluations, including both biomechanical and subjective outcomes, during a 1-year period (0, 2, 4, 6, 12 months) after initial ambulation with a prosthesis. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory within military treatment facility. Participants: Twenty-two men with unilateral transtibial limb loss and 10 men with unilateral transfemoral limb loss (N=32). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Triplanar trunk-pelvis range of motion and intersegmental coordination (continuous relative phase) obtained at self-selected (∼1.30m/s) and controlled (∼1.20m/s) walking velocities. Self-reported presence and intensity of low back pain. Results: An interaction effect between time and group existed for sagittal (P=.039) and transverse (P=.009) continuous relative phase at self-selected walking velocity and transverse trunk range of motion (P=.013) and sagittal continuous relative phase (P=.005) at controlled walking velocity. Trunk range of motion generally decreased, and trunk-pelvis coordination generally increased with increasing time after initial ambulation. Sagittal trunk and pelvis range of motion were always less and frontal trunk-pelvis coordination was always greater for persons with more distal limb loss. Low back pain increased for persons with transtibial limb loss and decreased for persons with transfemoral limb loss following the 4-month time point. Conclusions: Temporal changes (or lack thereof) in features of trunk-pelvis motions within the first year of ambulation help elucidate relationships between (biomechanical) risk factors for low back pain after limb loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-433
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Extremities
  • Locomotion
  • Low back pain
  • Rehabilitation
  • Torso
  • Wounds and injuries


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