Rehabilitation is the first important step toward resuming an independent life.
“Rehabilitation is the sum of all medical, educational, professional and social measures necessary to provide the best possible physical, mental and social conditions for the disabled person. These should enable him or her to retain or regain as normal a place as possible in society on their own.”
World Health Organization
Rehabilitation after an amputation will take time, energy, and patience. Everything may feel new and awkward, but it is important to try to maintain a positive attitude during rehabilitation. If you find yourself struggling, consider talking with an adjustment counselor or mental health professional, who can provide you with strategies for coping.
Being vocal and honest about your fears, frustrations and emotional state is the first step towards emotional healing. Adjusting to any type of amputation can feel overwhelming but remember: you are not alone.
We encourage you to celebrate every little victory along the way. It’s a good way to remain motivated on your goal!
Depending on your type of amputation, you may be sent to Physical Therapy to learn muscle building and exercise therapy. These can help improve your mobility while preparing you for wearing a prosthesis. Although each case is unique, physical therapy typically begins by addressing the core, leg and arm muscles. Your therapist will guide you and show you suitable exercises. These may be performed lying, sitting and standing. Ask your doctor whether Physical Therapy is needed during your rehabilitation.
Caring For Your Residual Limb Treatment
It is very important to properly maintain and care for your residual limb after your amputation. Important suggestions are available here.
Initial Prosthetic Leg Fitting
The first prosthetic leg is always temporary because the shape of your residual limb will change, especially immediately following the amputation. Eventually, your first prosthesis will no longer fit and a new one must be made. It is possible that you may need to have several sockets fabricated during your rehabilitation, depending on how much your limb volume and size changes. The components of each prosthetic leg you receive will be carefully selected by your prosthetist and tailor-made for you.
Training & Mobilisation
It is important to start therapy as soon as your care team advises and learn proper movement from a trained therapist. After an amputation, you must first learn to stand with your prosthesis. Trusting your prosthetic leg is a learning process and takes time. But eventually, with dedication and practice, the prosthesis will feel like an extension of your body and your movements will feel more natural.
Many people experience backtracking or pain, especially during the first few months following amputation, but try not to feel discouraged. Instead, stay consistent and follow your therapist‘s recommended exercises to help you regain your mobility.
During rehabilitation it is important to not just think about your physical health, but also about your mental recovery. You may have fears and feel emotions such as worry, doubt, anger, aggression and grief. These can all feel very intense, but be assured: they are part of the healing process. In order to cope with your new body and to process your experience, you may find it beneficial to get professional psychological support. Sharing your feelings with family and friends can also be important.