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Long jumpers with and without a transtibial amputation have different three-dimensional centre of mass and joint take-off step kinematics.

Research paper by Johannes J Funken, Steffen S Willwacher, Kai K Heinrich, Ralf R Müller, Hiroaki H Hobara, Alena M AM Grabowski, Wolfgang W Potthast

Indexed on: 11 Feb '20Published on: 12 Jun '19Published in: Royal Society open science



Abstract

Long jumpers with below the knee amputation (BKA) have achieved remarkable performances, yet the underlying biomechanics resulting in these jump distances are unknown. We measured three-dimensional motion and used multi-segment modelling to quantify and compare the centre of mass (COM) and joint kinematics of three long jumpers with BKA and seven non-amputee long jumpers during the take-off step of the long jump. Despite having the same jump distances, athletes with BKA, who used their affected leg for the take-off step, had lower sagittal plane hip and knee joint range of motion and positioned their affected leg more laterally relative to the COM compared to non-amputee athletes. Athletes with BKA had a longer compression phase and greater downward movement of their COM, suggesting that their affected leg (lever) was less rigid compared to the biological leg of non-amputees. Thus, athletes with BKA used a different kinematic mechanism to redirect horizontal to vertical velocity compared to non-amputee athletes. The specific movement patterns of athletes with BKA during the take-off step were constrained by the mechanical properties of the prosthesis. These results provide a basis for coaches and athletes to develop training protocols that improve performance and inform the design of future prostheses.