No significant performance difference found in voluntary opening, closing terminal devices

ORLANDO, Fla. — Results of a study presented here at the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium showed no statistically significant differences in voluntary opening and closing terminal devices when measuring physical functional performance.

“While there are many options available for amputees using upper limb prostheses, functional differences between subtypes are largely unknown,” M. Jason Highsmith, DPT, PhD, CP, FAAOP, said. “We conducted the appropriate research to determine performance.”

M. Jason Highsmith


The study included eight unilateral patients with a transradial amputation; five patients from traumatic injury and three congenital amputees. The mean age was 56.1 years. Each patient was a predominantly body-powered prosthesis user with experience using both voluntary opening and closing devices.

The patients were randomly assigned to the voluntary opening or closing group and performed activities of daily living in a serial fashion. Following testing, subjects crossed over and acclimated to the opposing group where they performed the same tasks.

According to the findings, domain and total physical functional performance scores ranged from 2.5% to 10.1%. However, there were no statistically significant differences in functional upper body strength, exertion or preference between the two groups.

Limitations included a small sample size and a large number of committed voluntary opening users prior to study enrollment, Highsmith said, adding, “from a design perspective, we think there may be some opportunity for improvement.” – by Shawn M. Carter


Highsmith MJ. Paper #F5. Presented at: American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium; March 9-12, 2016; Orlando, Fla.

Disclosure: Highsmith reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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