Objective: To assess the effects of using a microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joint on the functional performance of activities of daily living in persons with an above-knee leg amputation. Design: Randomised cross-over trial. Subjects: Forty-one persons with unilateral above-knee or knee disarticulation limb loss, classified as Medicare Functional Classification Level-2 (MFCL-2). Methods: Participants were measured in 3 conditions, i.e. using a mechanically controlled knee joint and two types of microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joints. Functional performance level was assessed using a test in which participants performed 17 simulated activities of daily living (Assessment of Daily Activity Performance in Transfemoral amputees test). Performance time was measured and self-perceived level of difficulty was scored on a visual analogue scale for each activity. Results: High levels of within-group variability in functional performance obscured detection of any effects of using a microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joint. Data analysis after stratification of the participants into 3 subgroups, i.e. participants with a "low", "intermediate" and "high" functional mobility level, showed that the two higher functional subgroups performed significantly faster using microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joints. Conclusion: MFCL-2 amputees constitute a heterogeneous patient group with large variation in functional performance levels. A substantial part of this group seems to benefit from using a microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee joint when performing activities of daily living.
- leg prosthesis
- knee joint