Exercise for the Amputee
It is hard to keep fit and supple when you have lost a limb; so it was good for us to get a work-out at the Prosthetic Gym where we learnt how to put our bodies through some exercises to supple up and keep in trim. They are also good for improving the posture of a limb wearer.
Each of the elements were done for a 60 second duration and a short break after completing 5 elements.
- Sit to Stand with arms folded
As it says you stand from a sitting position in a chair with your arms folded. This is fine for a below-knee amputee, but for an above-knee amputee you may need to do this with your arms outstretched in front to get the right balance as in the 2nd picture.
- Arm Stretch
This can be done with an elastic type band such as the ‘Dyna-Band’. This is more to do with posture and balance than power and stamina.
You could lay on the floor and do traditional push-ups; but the same effect can be gained by standing a short way off the wall and pushing away from the wall to straighten the arms.
- Arm lifts
While standing against the wall raise the arms up and down like a bird flapping its’ wings.
- Shuttle Run
Walk between 2 objects which were about 4 meters apart.
At each end of the walk you bend down to touch the object; although this does not need to be as drastic as our example.
- Side Stepping
Walk sideways between to objects about 4 meters apart, then return.
Simultaneous leg and arm movement
This entailed standing back to the wall and simultaneously lifting the right arm whilst lifting the right leg sideways. Return to original stance and do the left side. If you need a stick to support then it is easier to do this exercise facing a table so that you can use the table for support instead of a stick.
- Walking the line
This is exactly what it says, ‘Walking the line’.
For able bodied people the task should be done slowly and with feet exactly one-in-front-of-the-other.
For below knee amputees it is not so easy to get the feet in line, so some lateral tolerance is allowed.
For above knee amputee it is impossible to get the foot in line, so walking as close as is possible to the line for you.
Once again you can do this lying flat on your back or standing back to the wall.
The aim is to raise your bottom from the floor or away from the wall.
It has the same effect and uses the same muscle groups.
- Step Ups
Able bodied people and below the knee amputees can do the step up and back alternating legs to lead; whereas an above knee amputee has to use the good leg to lift and lower the artificial leg; so the good leg goes first followed by the artificial one and then the artificial leg is lowered first followed by the good limb.
- Wall Slides
This is not possible to do if you are an above knee amputee.
Stand against the wall with one foot slightly in front of the other and slide down a short way while bending the knee, then raise back to standing.
- Chest lifts
This can be done lying or standing.
Lying you arch your back by lifting your head and chest.
Standing with your bottom against a table for stability you arch your back
- Backward lifts
While holding your upper arm vertical you lower the weights down behind your shoulders and then raise them back up.
- Reach for the Stars
Here a tennis ball is placed on a pedestal about knee high.
The aim is to lift the ball with one hand and then reach to touch a mark on the wall which is the extension of your arm. The ball is then replaced on the pedestal and the exercise repeated but with the other hand.
- Arm raising
Stand with feet slightly apart and raise the weights above your head and then lower in a straight vertical motion.
Walking and juggling
Walk forward about 5 meters whilst tossing the tennis ball from one hand to the other.
Sitting or laying flat.
If you are laying flat you should extend your arms forward to the level of your knees and lift your trunk to a comfortable position. You do not need to sit right the way up.
- Walking around obstacles
Place a ball on a tray and walk around obstacles, such as cups placed randomly on the floor, concentrating on not dropping the ball.
- Trunk Curls
This is similar to ordinary curls but you twist the trunk at the same time by extending the right hand to the left side and visa-versa.
- Leg lifts
Lay on one side with the lower leg folded under the upper. Now lift the upper leg up and down. After 30 seconds you can turn over. Above Knee amputees just perform this with the amputated leg at the top as it is almost impossible and exceptionally uncomfortable to do it the other way around.
Now when you are aching later in the day; repeat the exercise that caused those aching muscles and then have a nice warm relaxing bath or a shower.
This will stretch the muscles first then the warmth draws the blood into those areas and helps them to relax back.