Physical therapy helps people recover both physically and mentally post-amputation. If you are an amputee and have questions about how our therapy works, please contact us and ask to discuss your situation with Olivier Chassin, DPT.
When is the right time for physical therapy?
Physical therapy can help throughout a person’s recovery. This includes:
- After surgery and before getting a prosthesis: this helps ensure a person’s long-term well-being with strengthening and conditioning.
- When people cannot use prostheses for a while: there are situations where patients cannot use their prostheses because of health problems, need for more surgery or poor fit. PT can help prepare people to use their prostheses again when these problems are resolved.
- Post-prostheses fitting: your physical therapist will help you learn to use your new limb with training, exercises, strengthening, and mimicking daily activities you may encounter post-therapy.
- When people decide not to use prostheses: PT can help even if people decide not to use prostheses at all. It will maintain and improve a person’s circulation, skin, strength and endurance. It can also reduce a person’s risk of getting contractures.
Preventing and reducing contractures
Contractures are caused by shortened muscles, tendons or skin that prevents normal movement of tissues and joints. When this happens, people cannot straighten their knees or elbows all the way. One reason for contractures is static positioning – when people do not move their residual limbs enough. Your physical therapist can help reduce the risk of contractures by stretching, good positioning, and range-of-motion exercises.
Amputees need good limb motion so that prostheses fit well and work the way they should. Your therapist can help by improving your range of motion.