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The presence of chaos in walking is considered to provide a stable, yet adaptable means for locomotion. This study examined whether lower limb amputation and subsequent prosthetic rehabilitation resulted in a loss of complexity in amputee gait. Twenty-eight individuals with transtibial amputation participated in a 6 week, randomized cross-over design study in which they underwent a 3 week adaptation period to two separate prostheses. One prosthesis was deemed “more appropriate” and the other “less appropriate” based on matching/mismatching activity levels of the person and the prosthesis. Subjects performed a treadmill walking trial at self-selected walking speed at multiple points of the adaptation period, while kinematics of the ankle were recorded. Bilateral sagittal plane ankle motion was analyzed for underlying complexity through the pseudoperiodic surrogation analysis technique. Results revealed the presence of underlying deterministic structure in both prostheses and both the prosthetic and sound leg ankle (discriminant measure largest Lyapunov exponent). Results also revealed that the prosthetic ankle may be more likely to suffer loss of complexity than the sound ankle, and a “more appropriate” prosthesis may be better suited to help restore a healthy complexity of movement within the prosthetic ankle motion compared to a “less appropriate” prosthesis (discriminant measure sample entropy). Results from sample entropy results are less likely to be affected by the intracycle periodic dynamics as compared to the largest Lyapunov exponent. Adaptation does not seem to influence complexity in the system for experienced prosthesis users.


© 2014 AIP Publishing LLC. Wurdeman SR, Myers SA, Stergiou N. (2014). Amputation effects on the underlying complexity within transtibial amputee ankle motion. Chaos. 24(1):013140. The published version of this article can be found here:

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