Heise, Gary D.

Committee Member

Smith, Jeremy D.




University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





77 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Socket suspension systems have an important role in an amputee’s ability to perform activities of daily living. There are three common modes of suspension used to attach the prosthetic foot to the residual limb including lock and pin (PIN), suction, and vacuum suspension systems. A new vacuum suspension system has been developed, the PUCK, which has a vacuum system internal to the socket and maintains pressure throughout the residual limb. Previous literature has focused on the role of suspension during over-ground walking but few have examined the effects during a more difficult task such as stair ascent. The purpose of this thesis was to understand if differences exist between PIN and PUCK suspension systems during stair ascent. Five male unilateral transtibial amputees participated in this study. The task was analyzed in two phases: GROUND (stride from level ground to second step) and STAIR (stride from first to third step). The participants attended two sessions; one with each suspension system (PIN and PUCK). Motion and forces between foot and GROUND (STAIR) were measured. Data analysis resulted in numerous kinematic and kinetic measures during each stride. Differences between limbs and between suspension systems were examined. The only difference between suspension systems was knee range of motion (ROM) during steps on the GROUND. The PUCK knee ROM was reduced compared to the PIN knee ROM, and this could be related to the neoprene sleeve worn with the PUCK system. A hip-dominant strategy was utilized by the transtibial amputees (TTA) for both GROUND and STAIR. The utilization of the hip of the amputated limb is a compensation strategy used by TTA since there is a reduction of knee ROM and ankle power of the amputated limb. Inter-limb differences were still present during both steps on the GROUND and STAIR regardless of suspension system. This study contributes to the body of literature by the uniqueness of the tasks analyzed (GROUND and STAIR) and the comparison between suspension systems. Future directions should focus on TTA of similar qualities to better understand the influence of suspension systems during steps on the GROUND and STAIR.

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