A team of researchers compared sitting, standing, and stepping between people with dysvascular lower-limb amputations and people with traumatic lower-limb amputations. The researchers found that participants in both groups had long durations of sitting and accumulated most physical activity in bouts of less than one minute.

The 32 participants’ most recent lower limb amputation was at least one year earlier, they were ambulating independently with a prosthesis, and they were between 45 and 88 years old. The mean was 62.6 years, 84 percent were men, and 53 percent had dysvascular amputations.

Sitting, standing, and stepping were measured using accelerometry. Daily sitting, standing, and stepping times were expressed as percentages of waking time. Time spent in bouts of specified durations of sitting (less than 30 minutes, 30-60 minutes, 60-90 minutes, and greater than 90 minutes), standing (0-1 minute, 1-5 minutes, and greater than 5 minutes), and stepping (0-1 minute, 1-5 minutes, and greater than 5 minutes) were also calculated.

Participants spent most of the day sitting and stepping. One quarter of sitting was accumulated in bouts of greater than 90 minutes, and most standing and stepping were accrued in bouts of less than one minute.

The participants with traumatic amputations had a 70 percent proportion of time sitting and a 23 percent proportion of time spent standing. Participants with dysvascular amputations had a higher 79 percent proportion of sitting and a 15 percent proportion of time standing.

The study’s author suggested that interventions to minimize sedentary behaviors and increase physical activity are potential strategies for improving poor outcome of physical therapy after lower-limb amputation. By intervening early and establishing good habits, we have the chance to improve overall health of amputees and increase their lifespan.

Sources: Physical Therapy Magazine, The O&P Edge