ORLANDO, Fla. – Split-belt treadmill training may provide a solution for improving gait symmetry in patients with an unilateral transfemoral amputation, according to Seok Hun Kim, PT, PhD, assistant professor of physical therapy at University of South Florida.

According to Kim, there is currently no systematic gait training method for regaining symmetry in patients with unilateral transfemoral amputations. However, the use of a split-belt treadmill is one option.

“Changing the speed on each belt will allow you to manipulate gait pattern,” Kim said at the American Academy Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium, here.


Seok Hun Kim

Kim and his colleagues studied the effect of split-belt training on a 32-year-old female with a unilateral transfemoral amputation. The patient walked on the treadmill at a comfortable speed for 5 minutes before training. She then walked on the treadmill with her sound leg at a faster speed and her prosthetic leg at a slower speed for 10-minute increments with a rest period of 2 minutes in between for a total of 30 minutes. Her comfortable walking pace was also measured before training, immediately after training and for an additional 10 minutes over ground using the GAITRite Walkway System.

“The results showed that a person with a right transfemoral amputation could adapt a symmetric gait pattern through gait training with a split-belt treadmill,” Kim said. “The adapted gait pattern was carried over to over-ground walking, which tells us that this is a potential method to improve gait symmetry in transfemoral amputees.”

For more information:

Kim SH. Paper F25. Presented at: American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium. Feb. 20-23, 2013. Orlando, Fla.

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