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Rehabilitation with a Prosthesis Following an Above Knee Amputation

An above knee prosthesis is an artificial design to replace the individual’s amputated leg for cosmetic or functional purposes.

A team of health professionals will initially carry out an assessment to see if a prosthesis is suitable for you.

Benefits of Physiotherapy with a Prosthesis Following an Above Knee Amputation

Rehabilitation for an amputee is a combined effort from all the members of the multi-disciplinary team.

Physiotherapy within this team will be centred on:
  • Teaching functional skills such as rolling, sitting, sit to stand and walking
  • Improving gait with the use of walking aids to build confidence and success
  • Addressing everyday obstacles such as going up and down stairs, getting in and out of cars etc.
  • Regaining independence with everyday activities
  • Improving quality of life

Stages of Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation for amputees can often be dictated by the healing process. When the stump has healed sufficiently the physiotherapist will be able to progress and develop a treatment plan according to the individuals needs.

At your physiotherapist will initially assess your movement, strength and balance required to perform normal activities, in order to develop this treatment program.

Physiotherapy input can be divided into three main stages:
  • Post Operation (0-7 days)
  • Pre-Prosthesis Rehabilitation (1 week– 6 weeks)
  • Rehabilitation with a Prosthesis (6 weeks +)

Post-operation (0 to 7 days)

After your operation you will be seen by a physiotherapist in hospital who will:
  • Assess and treat any respiratory complications that may occur post-surgery due to the anaesthetic.
  • Assess joint range of movements and muscle strength normally two-days post-operation. Physiotherapy will start with ROM (range of movement) exercises, focusing on the hip joint and all remaining joints not allowing stiffness to occur in the hospital.
  • Teach functional exercises such as bridging to help with activities of daily living (ADLs) for example independently dressing the lower body.
  • Carry out an assessment for walking aids. Being able to walk with a frame will depend on fitness levels; initially a wheelchair may be required.
  • Give advice on stump care and education on phantom limb sensation and/or pain.

Pre-prosthesis rehabilitation (1 week to 6 weeks)

Your physiotherapist at this stage will:
  • Progress exercises taking into consideration the muscles that have been altered during surgery and those muscle groups that will need to work harder to compensate for the loss of the leg.
  • Aim to prevent contractures (shortening of muscles) which would make it more difficult to use a prosthesis. A knee that is bent and stiff will not allow the fitting of a prosthesis.
  • Assess if the stump has healed sufficiently to progress to walking with a pneumatic post-amputation mobility aid (PPAM). This can be used between 7-10 days post-operation. This allows practice walking to take place with a prosthesis.
  • Teach transfers using different aids to enable the individual to get in and out of bed, on and off chairs etc.

Rehabilitation with a Prosthesis for an Above Knee Amputation (after 6 weeks)

This will start when the stump has healed sufficiently. When the swelling has reduced you will be measured for your prosthesis which can be between 8 to 10 weeks following your operation. When you have received your prosthesis the physiotherapist will:
  • Teach donning (putting on your prosthesis) and doffing (taking off your prosthesis).
  • Progress upper limb strengthening and core stability exercises.
  • Teach you how to manage everyday tasks such as getting out of a chair, going up stairs, getting in and out of cars and getting up from the floor etc.
  • Teach gait re-education with the new prosthesis focusing on balance and the biomechanics of walking making it energy efficient.
  • Prevent and manage injuries, mobilising with an above knee prosthesis may mean the patient is more prone to other injuries such as back pain due to the weight of the prosthesis.


The physiotherapist plays a key role in the rehabilitation of an above knee amputee.
At, your physiotherapist will tailor your rehab program to your individual needs in order to optimise your recovery and help you return to everyday activities to the best of your ability.

Your dedicated physiotherapist at will work hard to maximise your potential and minimise any problems that may occur throughout the rehabilitation program.

For more information on rehabilitation with a prosthesis, or to arrange an assessment please call on 0330 088 7800. or book online today!

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