Preparations for a study to investigate the influence of socket comfort on stump-socket pressure distribution and gait parameters are under way at Teesside University (UK) in collaboration with South Tees Hospital (UK). Above-knee amputees will be invited to visit the university for a series of gait experiments which will take place in the university’s 130 m2 large biomechanics laboratory, equipped with a 12-camera Vicon motion capture system, two Kistler force plates embedded in the floor, a 16-channel Delsys Trigno wireless EMG system and the TekScan pressure measurement system. The protocol and study documents are currently being prepared and it is planned to start the study in autumn 2020.
Simultaneously, a study evaluating the muscle tissue properties of residual limbs is in progress in Sevilla at the hospital Servicio Andaluz De Salud (Spain) in collaboration with Teesside University Healthcare Innovation Centre. This aims to provide muscle stiffness measurements for the residual limbs so they can be subject to finite element (FE) simulation. The protocol for this study, during which the muscle stiffness properties of both the residual and sound limbs of amputees, as well as able-bodied controls, was to be established using ultrasound shear wave elastography, is completed. Consequently, ethical approval has been submitted to the Ethics Committee of the hospital. Due to the restrictions in hospitals caused by the COVID-19 situation, developing an efficient modelling-simulation-analysis workflow for computational models has become the major focus to support and contribute to the progress of the project.