Australian researchers studying changes in mobility among lower-limb amputees have found that participation in mobility clinics improves outcomes, according to an article published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International. Led by Sarah Anderson, MPH, PhD, a lecturer in the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University, researchers conducted a pilot study to analyze the effects of participation in targeted mobility training on individual’s mobility and quality of life.

The researchers studied amputees of all ability levels who took part in a two-day clinic to work with prosthetists, physical therapists, allied health personal professionals, and exercise physiologists to learn specific high-level mobility skills.

“These might be how to hop, jump, or sidestep, or perhaps play or participate in sports,” explained Anderson.

Clinic attendees took part in sessions focused on physiological skills to strengthen specific muscle group, introduction to specific sports, including soccer, golf, and running, and talks from a variety of people including those who have had long term limb loss. “The participants worked in a group environment and learned from the health professionals in the room.”

To measure mobility, participants were asked to complete electronic versions of the PLUS-M and SF-36v2 mobility survey instrument tools prior to and 12 weeks following participation in a mobility clinic.

“Mobility improved for all participants,” said Anderson, “and these improvements were maintained three months after the clinic.”

The researchers concluded that mobility clinics can teach amputees new skills while facilitating interaction with the other people with limb loss, resulting in improvements that impact mobility and quality of life in a positive way. “It doesn’t matter if you have never done anything active, or have run marathons… everyone improved their mobility.” Details of the study were published in the June 5th edition of Prosthetics and Orthotics International.

Sources: O&P Almanac, Prosthetics and Orthotics International