Every patient who has had any type of lower limb amputation wants to be able to walk properly once more.

When it comes to walking safely on a variety of surfaces and without expending excessive energy, a patient with a lower limb amputation has numerous obstacles. In general, the higher the extent of amputation, the more gait abnormalities or difficulty walking can be expected. This is because more muscle, sensory receptors, and leverage are lost as a result of amputation; muscle, sensory receptors, and leverage are lost as well. A Physical Therapy treatment plan can help a patient reclaim a “normal” walking pattern in terms of posture, step length, stability, balance, speed, and limb alignment.

WORK ON YOUR GAIT

Almost all patients who have had a lower limb amputated will benefit from physical therapy and gait training at some point during their rehabilitation in order to return to a more normal walking pattern. Patients will benefit from pre-amputation activities to strengthen their arms and legs in preparation for gait training with their prosthesis while using a walker. A prosthetist will work with the patient after amputation surgery to build and align a prosthesis that will best fit the patient’s walking pattern.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM PHYSICAL THERAPY

The patient will see the physical therapist three times a week on average.

Because any changes in the prosthesis may alter the gait pattern, the physical therapist and prosthetist will stay in close contact while gait training is taking place.

Physical treatment is initially focused on standing and walking with sufficient stability to guarantee safety (this initial gait training is performed in parallel bars with the assistance of the physical therapist holding the patient with a gait belt for additional safety)

Because strong trunk and leg muscles make it simpler to progress the patient’s gait training, the initial gait training is complemented with strength and flexibility exercises for the legs and trunk muscles.

In order to assist the patient in establishing a more typical step length and walking speed, the physical therapist will work with them to enhance their balance and coordination.

SPLINTER SKILLS

A technique in which a walking pattern is broken down into a series of events that are trained separately before being combined to form a walking pattern.

WHOLE WALKING

 

A technique in which the complete gait pattern is executed without thinking about the various components of walking, relying on the body’s natural tendency to choose the most stable and energy-efficient method to walk.

CONFIDENCE

A walker can be used instead of parallel bars once the patient feels comfortable and the physical therapist deems it is safe. When a walker is used, the focus shifts to assisting the patient in walking on uneven surfaces, such as outdoors, around obstacles, and stepping up and downstairs.

Even patients who have been walking with a prosthesis for years might benefit from gait training to improve their walking skills or learn a new skill like sidestepping, tandem walking, or even sprinting.

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If you are in the Asheville, NC area and are in need of GAIT TRAINING or other physical therapy, we’d love to connect with you! CONTACT 1on1 Physical Therapy today! (828) 785-8388