Award Date


Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Committee Member

Jenny Kent

Second Committee Member

Daniel Young

Third Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages



Individuals with lower limb loss often demonstrate gait deviations which cause instability and asymmetry. Walking with poles has been shown to improve stride length and stability in older adult and other patient populations. The enhanced arm involvement in bipedal walking with poles has the potential to facilitate interlimb coordination among arms and legs, and therefore is likely to improve prosthetic gait. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of walking poles on temporal gait parameters and the center of mass (COM) displacement during prosthetic and simulated prosthetic gait. It was hypothesized that walking with poles would improve gait parameters, symmetry index and COM displacement while walking. One transfemoral amputee and seven non-amputee individuals participated. The iWalk, a hands-free crutch device, was used to simulate the gait pattern of individuals with above-the-knee amputation. All participants walked at a self-selected comfortable walking speed on a treadmill under two conditions: hands free walk (W) and pole walk (PW). Gait parameters including cadence, stance time of intact and iWalk/prosthetic legs as well as the vertical displacement of COM were analyzed. Symmetry index was calculated using iWalk/prosthetic stance phase divided by intact stance phase. Our results showed that participants exhibited significantly lower cadence and corresponding longer stance phase of the intact leg and iWalk/prosthetic leg in the PW condition compared to W at the same walking speed. In addition, there was a significantly larger vertical displacement of COM during the stance phase of the iWalk/prosthetic leg in PW compared to W. The lower cadence and greater stance time of both the intact and iWalk/prosthetic limb on the treadmill represented longer step length in PW compared to W. The longer step length also reflected in the observed larger vertical displacement of COM in PW. The longer step length may indicate better confidence level and stability during PW compared to W.


Amputation; Amputees; Prosthesis; Gait in humans; Walking; Staffs (Sticks, canes, etc.)


Movement and Mind-Body Therapies | Physical Therapy

File Format


File Size

446 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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