Study: K3 prostheses show significant advantages over K2 prostheses

LAS VEGAS — The differences between K2 and K3 prostheses have a measurable impact on the functional performance and quality of life of transtibial amputees, according to data presented during the Thranhardt Lecture series at the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association National Assembly.

Nicoleta Bugnariu

“The K3 foot provides an additional benefit in terms of balance and gait functions and quality of life compared to the K2,” Nicoleta Bugnariu, PT, PhD, associate professor of physical therapy for University of North Texas Health Science Center, said here.

Bugnariu and colleagues examined the impact of changing the prostheses for patients from K2 to K3 level, and from K3 to K2 level. After researchers established baseline measures for patients with their current prosthesis, patients entered a randomized trial in which they were given a prosthesis either at, above or below their current functional level.

Researchers used outcome measures to determine changes in balance, gait and quality of life, in addition to a battery of physical therapy clinical tests.

Baselines measures showed that K2 patients had a lower quality of life than K3 patients, but patients who switched from K2 to K3 prostheses showed immediate effects.

“When we performed the switch from a K2 to a K3, immediate effects on standing balance were improved control of center of pressure … meaning that they have better control of their quiet standing,” Bugnariu said. “Also, when we performed the K2 to K3 switch – immediately, within the same day, within the same one hour after the first round [of tests] – they had an increase in gait speed.”

Bugnariu said patients who switched from a K3 to K2 level prosthesis showed negative effects during the 2-week period, including worse standing balance and a decreased gait speed.

Patients who kept a prosthesis at their current level showed no significant change in any measures. — by Amanda Alexander

For more information:

Bugnariu N. Functional Performance and Evaluation of Dynamic Response Feet. Presented at: American Orthotic & Prosthetic National Assembly; Sept. 4-7, 2014. Las Vegas.

The study was funded by the AOPA Research Award, administered by the Center for Orthotics and Prosthetics Learning and Outcomes/Evidence-Based Practice.

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