According to the most recent data, over 8,000 lower limb amputations are performed annually in Australia.
If you are an amputee, you know that being physically active is essential for your overall health and well-being. But what do you do when you’re not sure where to start? Or when exercise seems more difficult than ever?
Our physiotherapists are here to help! We can work with you to create a personalised physical activity plan to help improve your strength, endurance, mobility and balance in the comfort of your home.
Common causes for amputation
Amputation is the surgical or trauma-induced removal of a body extremity.
There are several reasons why someone might become an amputee, but the two most common are:
- Vascular disease -If severe, it can result in a loss of blood supply to the limb after previous medical treatment, leading to amputation.
- Trauma -This occurs when a limb is severely injured in an accident, and neither the blood supply nor the structure of the limb can be saved.
Tumours, infection, a pain control method (as a last resort), or congenital reasons are among the less common reasons for amputation.
7 Common post-amputation symptoms
- Phantom pain
- Muscle degeneration
- Phantom sensation
Your physiotherapist will conduct an assessment prior to administering any treatment. At this early stage, a functional evaluation of the patient’s upper limb, lower limb, and trunk can be performed to assess the patient’s ability to perform activities such as transfer, wheelchair mobility, and ambulation (with or without a prosthesis).
A physiotherapist can help with post-operative rehabilitation in a variety of ways.
Physiotherapy treatment options may include:
- Massage to relieve pain, promote healing, and relieve tension in muscles surrounding the stump or opposite limb, which can cause problems due to overuse caused by compensation.
- Phantom limb pain and sensation can be treated with acupuncture and electrical stimulation.
- Strategies for injury prevention and management
- Compression to tackle swelling
- Gait training
- Prosthetic training
- Patient support and education
- While the patient is on bed rest, the role of exercise is to reduce stiffness in other joints and strengthen them.
- Upper and lower limb functional exercises.
- Pre-gait training exercises.
- Balance and weight-bearing exercises.
- Pelvic and trunk strengthening exercises.
The main objectives of post-amputation rehabilitation
- Pain management
- Psychological support for the client
- Achieve maximal independence
- Avoid muscle atrophy
- Avoid oedema
- Avoid bronchopneumonia
- Maintain joint range of motion
- Avoid pressure sores
- Increase muscle activation
- Sensory retraining
- Avoid muscle weakness
How can you prevent contracture after amputation?
After surgery, stretching exercises and proper body and joint positioning should begin as soon as possible. One of the most effective approaches is to encourage the patient to move the joint frequently during the day as they would during regular activity.
How can physiotherapy help after losing a limb?
Our physiotherapists and exercise physiologists can assist you in regaining your mobility after losing a limb or after receiving a prosthetic limb.
We will work with you to determine your goals and the level of function you desire, whether confidently moving around the house or participating in sports or physical activity.
Using these objectives, we will design an individualised strength, endurance, and cardiovascular program to improve your mobility, confidence, and ability to navigate daily tasks and participate in essential activities.
Amputees typically engage in less physical activity, which can impair mobility, increase the risk of chronic disease development, or cause rapid deterioration.
Lower limb amputees must expend more energy to walk than non-amputees. Training and support are essential for preparing the body for these increased workloads and achieving sufficient mobility to continue your life.
People with a limb amputation face challenges that no one else does. These difficulties affect many aspects of daily life and can be extremely isolating and debilitating without specialised assistance.
We are movement experts at Home Physio Melbourne, and we understand that there are frequently other injuries or conditions to consider, such as diabetes or lower back pain. We consider this and will work with you to address any other issues you may have. We will also collaborate with other healthcare team members to achieve your best possible outcome.
Final thoughts on Physiotherapy Post-Amputation
The removal of a body extremity can be a frightening experience for anyone. It takes a team of professionals to help you adjust to life without a body part. As a result, physiotherapists play an essential role in rehabilitating people who have had amputations.
One of the most important things to maintain after an amputation is your physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy is an integral part of the rehabilitation process after amputation. It aids in the improvement of mobility, strength, and function of the rest of your body.