There are many different types of amputations which in turn means there are different types of rehabilitation. Here we will look at different types depending on your goals and physical ability. Other factors that contribute to rehabilitation are; overall health, weight, age and physical ability before the amputation.
The goal of rehabilitation is always to increase mobility and functionality for the amputee. The Physical Therapist and Prosthetist will work together to help the patient reach whatever goals that they have. Some rehabilitation treatments can include; therapeutic exercises, training with the new prosthetic, modified daily activities and general education about your new residual limb and prosthesis.
Therapeutic exercises can help in overall body strength and decrease physical pain. The exercises will start slowly with stretching the residual limb to increase or maintain Range of Motion in a joint. The Physio Therapist will teach you how to do these stretches so that you can be performing them on your own when possible. Stretching and exercises can help with an increase in strength and increase circulation which can help with the healing of the incision on the residual limb. If your amputation was on the lower part of your body it is still important to work at increasing your upper body strength. This will help with transfers, using crutches or a wheelchair. If you are using any type of walking aids your physiotherapist will teach you how to use those before you leave the hospital.
Using Your New Prosthetic
Once your residual limb has healed, you may wish to visit a Prosthetist who will aid you in getting a prosthesis. They will make a new artificial limb and with physiotherapy teach you how to care for it and use it. With so many advances in prosthetics it is important that you are able to have an open conversation with your Prosthetist about what you want. There are many different options to suit your needs.
Modified Daily Activities
As a new amputee there will be many aspects of your life that will change. If you are a leg amputee, your physiotherapist and/or your Prosthetist will teach you how to walk again. If you are an arm amputee an Occupational Therapist will teach you how to use your artificial limb for everyday activities. The Occupational Therapist will teach you adaptive skills and depending on what type of prosthesis you are fitted with, will teach you things like how to get dressed with a prosthesis or with one hand.
Caring for your Prosthesis
Your Prosthetist will teach you about limb care, prosthetic hygiene and using prosthetic socks to ensure you are comfortable and getting the best use out of your artificial limb. Where your amputation is and what type of prosthesis that was decided on will dictate what type of care plan is laid out for you and your amputation.
It is vital that use the health care professionals that are available to you. Be open and honest with your team so that you can move forward with your new normal as best as possible.