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Title: Biomechanical risk factors and reduced bone health in lower limb amputees
Author: Brown, Olivia H.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2019
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Bone constantly adapts to its surroundings through the formation and resorption of material, controlled by bone modelling and remodelling. Strains produced by mechanical loading are one factor that drive these processes and thus determine bone health. Lower limb amputees (LLA) adopt an asymmetrical movement pattern to compensate for the loss of a limb, resulting in a change in mechanical loading and subsequently a degradation in bone health. The aetiology of the majority of amputations is vascular diseases, which affect bone health. Therefore, it is not clear whether the asymmetrical loading, or comorbidities cause the degradation in bone health in LLA. Finite element models (FEM) are used to generate strain plots and predict the bone's response to mechanical loading. To understand the relationship between the degradation in bone health and asymmetrical loads in LLAs the asymmetrical loads can be applied to a healthy bone using FEMs, or simulated within a healthy population using restrictive devices. Therefore, the overall aim was to investigate the relationship between asymmetrical loading, as observed in LLA’s, and bone health, through the use of semi-subject specific FEMs and restrictive lower limb devices. Study one established a novel image processing method to convert peripheral quantative computed tomography (pQCT) scan images into binary and segment the tibia. The outer perimeter of the tibia was identified and sectioned to produce landmarks. The outer geometry landmarks were used to morph a base FEM, constructed from open source scan images to create semi-subject tibia FEM. Study two applied subject-specific joint reaction and muscle forces to the semi-subject tibia FEM. The strain plots output from Study two were validated against longitudinal geometrical changes from Study three. Study three, used 3D motion capture, pQCT and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to investigate gait and tibial geometry within a lower limb amputee and able-bodied population across twelve months. The coefficient of variation (CV) for able bodied subjects was less than 10% for ground reaction force (GRF) in level walking and less than 4% for bone total area. Study four, used a rigid foot orthosis and a trans-femoral prosthesis, to restrict able-bodied gait. Results showed participants walked significantly slower (p<0.01) in the restricted conditions, with a longer non-restricted step length (p<0.001). The loading rate and maximum GRF were higher in the non-restricted limb (p<0.05). Larger knee adductor moments were shown in the un-restricted leg in the trans-tibial condition (p<0.05). This thesis presents a novel method of constructing semi-subject specific FEMs from pQCT scans. This can be used to further investigate the link between asymmetrical loading and bone health in LLA's and other populations with asymmetrical gait. The use of restrictive devices allow investigation into LLA's specifically, without the interference of prosthetic variability, or comorbidities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available