Cutaneous sensitivity in unilateral trans-tibial amputees
The aim of this research was to examine tactile sensitivity in the skin of the leg and foot sole of healthy control subjects and below knee amputees and to examine its association with balance. For control subjects, the glabrous skin of the foot had higher sensitivity compared to the hairy skin of the leg, similar to previous literature in the upper limb. For all diabetic amputees examined, tactile sensitivity acuity in the lower limb was considerably lower than age matched controls in both the amputated and intact limbs, due to peripheral neuropathy. The traumatic amputee examined showed elevated sensitivity compared to controls for vibration perception at 40Hz and 250Hz in both the intact and amputated limbs. This may be due to cortical reorganisation of the primary somatosensory cortex which is known to occur following amputation. Further investigation of the tactile sensitivity of lower limb amputees is recommended.