Prosthetic & Orthotic Information Resource

Physical Rehabilitation after Amputation

Top 10 Rules

Ten simple rules that can significantly reduce the likelihood of losing a foot, outside of a traumatic accident.

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Physical Therapy

Dealing with amputation is difficult process requiring both physical and emotional effort. Even with well-planned preparation, the loss of a limb can be very traumatic. Not only will the amputee have to learn to live with the physical loss, he or she may need to learn to love the new look of their body as well. Additonally, they may need to learn how to use the prosthetic device which replaces the missing limb. Proper instruction and physical therapy is helpful to recover from the surgery and amputation.
As members of the rehabilitation team, the prosthetist and the physical therapist will typically remain in close contact when working with lower-limb amputees. The prosthetist is responsible for fabricating and modifying the specific socket design and providing prosthetic components that will best suit the life-style of a particular individual while the physical therapist's role is threefold.
First, the amputee must be physically prepared for prosthetic gait training and educated about residual-limb care prior to being fitted with the prosthesis.
Second, the amputee must learn how to use and care for the prosthesis. Prosthetic gait training can be the most frustrating, yet rewarding phase of rehabilitation for all involved. The amputee must be patiently educated in the biomechanics of prosthetic gait. Once success is achieved, the amputee may look forward to resuming a productive life.
Third, the therapist should introduce the amputee to higher levels of activities beyond just learning to walk. Although the amputee may not be ready to participate in recreational activities immediately, providing the names of support groups and disabled recreational organizations can furnish the necessary information for the individual to seek involvement when ready.

Rehabilitation after amputation

The Loss of a limb produces a permanent disability that can impact a patient's mobility (movement), self-image, and self-care. Rehabilitation of the patient with an amputation typically begins after having been released from the hospital although, some physical therapy can begin within a few days after the surgery and, prior to being released. The begining of the rehabilitation phase depends on many variables, including the following:

The Goal of Physical Therapy

The goal of rehabilitation after an amputation is to help the patient return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life - physically, emotionally, and socially. Learning to use a prosthetic device that fits correctly and as comfortably as possible is a crucial step in regaining a sense of balance in the amputee's life.

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