Video software boosts amputee rehabilitation

Software used to view and analyse the gait of an amputee so any issues can be detected and corrected

Amputees stand to benefit from software that will analyse their gait and movement to optimise the fit, comfort and effectiveness of artifical limbs.

A grant from the Thomas George Macarthy Trust, received by the Amputee Society, has been used to buy video-analysis software from Dunedin-based Siliconcoach.

The software, Siliconcoach Pro, is designed for analysing movement and providing feedback through the process of video capture, watching the result, reviewing, analysing and presenting it. It is used by sports scientists and sports shops to improve athletes’ performance and is also designed to help rehabilitation from injury or amputation, says Siliconcoach CTO Steve Goodlass.

“We are overjoyed that we have received this grant from the TG Macarthy Trust…which will enable us to buy Siliconcoach’s software,” says Amputee Society field officer Karen Michalanney.

The software will be used to view and analyse the gait of an amputee so any issues can be detected and then corrected, says Michalanney.

The software allows users to capture video and to view all 50 fields, rather than the standard 25 frames per second, says Goodlass. It also has measurement tools and drawing capabilities built into it, he says.

The application has been available since 2000, and is now up to its seventh version.

The Amputee Society decided to gift the software to the Wellington Limb Centre, a provider of prosthetic limbs services, fitting and maintenance of artificial limbs and rehabilitation support to New Zealand amputees.

“Getting the fit of prosthetic limbs right is incredibly important for amputees, as it can reduce the occurrence of other issues such as back or hip pain. Being able to move freely and comfortably is also crucial to retaining independence,” says Michalanney.

The software can identify various element of gait, says Ray Binet, Limb Centre manager, and it enables his team to look at these elements frame by frame.

“We can also use tools within the software to mark angles of, for instance, knee flexion and ankle movement,” he says.

Binet says the software will result in better outcomes for amputees because it enables the Centre to do more precise analysis, “something we couldn’t do with the naked eye”, he says.

“It is a very powerful program,” he says. “The Amputee Society has gifted this to us as a way of benefiting amputees, and we are very grateful for that.”

The TG Macarthy Trust was established in 1912 after the death of the Wellington brewer and benefactor. The Trust’s purpose is to provide assistance to charities and educational institutions in the greater Wellington region. The Trust is managed by Public Trust.

More than 649 charitable and educational organisations, schools, kindergartens, playcentres, Plunket groups, Kôhanga reo and Pacific Island language groups in the greater Wellington region received TG Macarthy grants this year, totalling $2,744,807.

Since 1912, over $50 million has been distributed to many diverse organisations. Macarthy also gave generously to charities during his lifetime. He insisted his gifts be made anonymously except for a rare exception when he donated £500 to the Children’s Hospital, says Public Trust.