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Lower back pain is a debilitating condition common to individuals with lower limb amputation. It is unclear what risk factors contribute to the development of back pain. This study systematically reviewed and analyzed the available evidence regarding the clinical and biomechanical differences between individuals with amputation, with and without lower back pain.


A literature search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and CINAHL databases in November 2020 and repeated in June 2021 and June 2022. Studies were included if they reported comparisons of demographic, anthropometric, biomechanical, and other clinical variables between participants with and without LBP. Study quality and potential for reporting bias were assessed. Meta-analyses were conducted to compare the two groups.


Thirteen studies were included, with aggregated data from 436 participants (239 with LBP; 197 pain free). The median reporting quality score was 37.5%. The included studies enrolled participants who were predominantly male (mean = 91.4%, range = 77.8–100%) and with trauma-related amputation. Meta-analyses showed that individuals with LBP exhibited moderate (3.4 out of 10) but significantly greater pain than those without LBP. We found no between-group differences in age, height, weight, BMI, and time since amputation (p = 0.121–0.682). No significant differences in trunk/pelvic kinematics during gait were detected (p = 0.07–0.446) between the groups.


Demographic, anthropometric, biomechanical, and simple clinical outcome variables may be insufficient for differentiating the risk of developing back pain after amputation. Investigators should be aware of the existing gender bias in sampling and methodological limitations, as well as to consider incorporating psychosocial measures when studying LBP in this clinical population.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Clinical Biomechanics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Clinical Biomechanics, volume 101, in 2023.

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