A pilot study towards long-term thermal comfort research for lower-limb prosthesis wearers

Rhys Williams, A Takashima, T Ogata, Catherine Holloway
in Prosthetics and Orthotics International, Journal article


Background: Thermal discomfort amongst lower-limb prosthesis wearers is prevalent with social and medical consequences.
Objectives: This study aimed to verify the feasibility of out of laboratory thermal comfort studies.
Study design: Repeated measures pilot study
Methods: Thermistors were placed on participants' residual limbs during two experimental phases. In phase one, mean limb temperature was calculated over a controlled 55-minute rest-exercise-rest protocol. In phase two, participants conducted activities of their choosing wherever they wanted away from the lab, whilst limb temperature data was collected. Descriptive statistics and statistical differences between phases are presented.
Results: Five male amputees participated with an average age ± SD of 30 ± 9 years. In phase one, mean limb temperature change ranged between 1.6 ˚C to 3.7˚C. In phase two, mean limb temperature change ranged between 1.8 ˚C to 5.1 ˚C. Limb temperature was significantly higher in out of lab studies (+1.9 ˚C, p = 0.043) compared to in-lab studies.
Conclusion: Independent multiple-hour temperature studies are shown to be feasible. Results also indicate that out of lab residual limb temperature can be significantly higher than in-lab temperatures.