Returning to your normal level of activity after an amputation can sometimes feel like an impossible task. However, with the right prosthetic device, guidance from your doctor, and persistence, anyone can get back to the quality of life they desire.
The Importance of Exercise After an Amputation
It’s important to take time to heal, but to also take the time to work on your mobility with exercises specific to your needs. Rehabilitation exercises after a limb amputation will help you improve your range of motion and strengthen the rest of your body to support your new prosthesis. Certain exercises can also help you desensitize hypersensitivity in your residual limb and lessen the effects of phantom limb pain. Staying active and determined is key to making sure the rest of your body remains healthy and fit.
Chances are, when you first get your amputation, you will be less mobile than before. You’ll spend some more time sitting and adjusting to your new lifestyle. However, it’s important to not allow yourself to become completely immobile. When your joints are flexed in the same position for an extended amount of time, it can cause your muscles and joints to be come tight and make it more difficult when you do want to move.
Make sure you make time to stretch your knee and hip multiple times throughout the day. Slowly move into different stretches and hold them for a minimum of 30 seconds to get the full effect. This will keep your muscles active and limber for when it’s time to start your strengthening exercises. Not sure where to start? The Amputee Coalition has provided helpful guides to help you stretch the proper areas.
Easy Exercises To Do At Home
Strengthening and balance exercises are the next step to returning to your most active lifestyle. For lower extremities, key exercises can help you maintain your range of motion and improve stability. Here are a few important ways to exercise with your new prosthesis:
Balancing Exercises are needed to help you retrain your brain to walk evenly between your full limb and your prosthesis. Practicing simple tasks with your new prosthesis with a focus on balance can help you regain control. Take stairs slowly and with the intent of maintaining balance. Even standing up straight and leaning and twisting from side to side can help you regain your stability.
Strengthening Exercises are important in helping you to use your newfound balance to improve your mobility and quality of life. This allows you to maintain the strength in your residual limb so that your prosthetic can help you function properly. Simple strengthening exercises like leg lifts while lying down can help strengthen your hips and thighs to maintain mobility.
Agility Exercises will give you the confidence to help you maintain your lifestyle of choice. Once you have your strength and balance, you’ll want to learn how to move even better. Try exercises that are a little more mobile such as tossing a ball around or dancing to keep you moving.
If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. Ask your practitioner about your options.