Effects of heel lifting on transtibial amputee gait before and after treadmill walking: A case study

L. F. Yeung, Kam Lun Leung, Ming Zhang, Winson C.C. Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Prosthetic alignment is usually unchanged once optimized. However, a previous study indicated that long-distance walking significantly altered gait patterns, suggesting some alignment adjustments after walking are required. This study investigated the effects of alignment changes (by inserting a heel lift) on gait of a transtibial amputee before and after treadmill walking. Case Description and Methods: The subject walked, without heel lifts, on a treadmill until perception of fatigue. Gait changes upon heel lifting at the prosthetic side were studied before and after the treadmill walking Findings and Outcomes: For this subject before the treadmill walking, heel lifting induced drop-off with increased prosthetic-side knee flexion at mid-stance and pre-swing. The sound limb outreached to stabilize the gait. After the treadmill walking, the same heel lift did not induce drop-off. It reduced the plantar flexor power generation, potentially delaying its fatigue. Conclusion: After walking prosthetic-side heel lifting could be beneficial. Clinical relevance Many lower-limb amputees have difficulties in long-distance walking due to muscle fatigue. This case study proposes that appropriate alignment changes after some walking potentially relieve fatigue and encourage them to walk longer distances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-323
Number of pages7
JournalProsthetics and Orthotics International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • Gait
  • Heel lift
  • Long-distance walking
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Prosthetic alignment
  • Transtibial amputees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation

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