An amputation is the surgical removal of a limb or part thereof. Below-knee amputations can occur for a variety of reasons including but not limited to trauma if the limb is considered non-viable or as a preventative measure.
A below-knee amputation preserves the knee joint thus reducing the amount of energy expenditure when ambulating with a prosthetic (in comparison to above knee).
Above-knee amputees are an increased likelihood of contractures therefore structured exercise and movement, play an important role in preventing contractures. In addition, when a prosthesis is obtained, rehabilitation is crucial to assist in weight-bearing and ambulating to decrease the likelihood of falls and provide guidance, confidence, and support to the patient.
A combination of aerobic and strength training is required to increase the quality of life and obtain sufficient cardiovascular fitness to ambulate with a prosthetic. Strength training will improve the muscles surrounding the amputation to ensure the client can safely complete their tasks of daily living such as rising from a chair, climbing stairs, and walking on uneven surfaces. In addition, increased strength surrounding the amputation will improve the amputee’s ability to weight bear and ambulate effectively.
Due to the increased energy expenditure when ambulating, improving cardiovascular fitness is crucial so the patient can travel their desired distance thus improving their quality of life and independence.
Appointments with a Physiotherapist or an Exercise Physiologist can play a crucial role in the rehabilitation of amputee patients. Practitioners are able to provide education, exercises, and other hands-on therapies to support and guide patients to ease the burden of everyday tasks.
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