THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSIOTHERAPY FOR AMPUTEE REHABILITATION
Rehabilitation of an amputee requires a team of health professionals to make the adjustment to life without the limb and after getting prosthesis. A physician, a nurse, a prosthetist, a psychologist, an occupational therapist are all needed. Add to that list a physiotherapy service, which will help with amputee rehabilitation.
However, the importance of physiotherapy is not adequately recognized by the people of Mauritius where there is still an unstructured environment for physiotherapists. In the spirit of promoting the profession of Physiotherapy and educating the population of its benefit, the Association of Physiotherapists was founded in the year 2009.
The Association of Physiotherapists is the sole association regrouping physiotherapists in Mauritius. It has the unique and immense priviledge to be affiliated with the prestigious Global Rainbow Foundation following the signature of the MOU in the year 2012.
The President and Founder of the Global Rainbow Foundation, Prof. Armoogum Parsuramen gave many young physiotherapists several opportunities and fruitful experiences through events organized, latest being the Jaipur Foot Camp which was held at the Dr. James Burty David Recreational Centre from 23rd December 2013 to 8th January 2014.
The Global Rainbow Foundation called upon Physiotherapists from the Association of Physiotherapists to provide rehabilitation services to the beneficiaries of the project while at the same time emphasized on the importance of physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the lives of all the patients with amputation before getting the prosthesis, during the trial of the prosthesis and after receiving the prosthesis. The physiotherapist’s aim is to maintain or restore the amputee’s functional status providing greater independence.
During the pre prosthetic training of both above and below knee amputees, physiotherapy prepared the patient for the prosthesis through exercises, bandaging and caring for the stump. Bandaging was taught since the physiotherapist noted that the majority of the patients were not practicing good bandaging techniques.
Most amputees complained of phantom pains which they need to overcome. These are pains where the limb used to be. Physiotherapy uses its own techniques to treat this pain.
Physiotherapy also helped reduce the risk of complications such as contractures by stretching, good positioning of the stump, and range-of-motion exercises. During the fitting of the prosthesis, all the amputees were asked to try the prosthesis in the presence of the physiotherapist to report any discomfort caused by the prosthesis or any discrepancy in the length.
Once the prosthesis was fitted, Physiotherapy benefits amputee rehabilitation by gradually getting the patient accustomed to using a prosthetic limb during the prosthetic gait training. Weight bearing and balancing exercises were taught to the patients based upon the needs and abilities of the patient. One thing that the amputees realized that gait is a good deal of the battle, especially for those with above knee amputation. Hence, all patients had undergone intensive and step by step walking re-education between parallel bars present at the Camp under the supervision of the physiotherapist. Limping or other gait deviations were corrected each time until the patient gets it right.
Physiotherapy rehabilitation helped the amputees overcome their fear of falling while standing with the prosthesis and regain their self confidence, self esteemed and general well being as majority of the patients were standing after a prolonged period following their amputation.
There is an essential need for physiotherapy in amputee rehabilitation that no other discipline can fill. It is a basic kind of help that anyone who has lost a limb or gets a prosthesis can use. If there is a way to convince amputees to get physiotherapy to help them with their rehabilitation so that they find recovery in a much smoother path; that way is through Global Rainbow Foundation.
Article by Desyrani Rampertab