Advancements in Prosthetics – Prosthetics Physical Therapy Program – Part 02
Let’s talk about safety for a second. When
with a Physical Therapist or at home doing your exercises, safety should be your number
one priority. Of course we want you to be as functionally independent with your prosthesis
as possible so you walk better. But always remember, safety is the number one thing. For the back extension strengthening exercise–lie
comfortably on your stomach. Move your hands to the side. Raise both your upper body and
your legs at the same time. Hold for a few seconds then relax. Breathe throughout the
exercise. This exercise is called bridging. Begin by
lying on the floor with your knees bent. Push off the floor with your sound leg until your
waist is straight. Slowly raise your residual limb until it is parallel with your other
leg. Hold the position for ten seconds–then relax. Here is the proper way to do a basic crunch.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and cross your arms over your chest. Raise your
upper body by contracting the upper abdominal muscles. Hold this for about five seconds–then
relax. Remember to breathe throughout the exercise. Dynamic side-stepping allows you to gain control
of your hip abductors and adductors–those are the muscles on the inside and outside
of your leg. From a standing balance position–take several side-steps in one direction–then
the other. You may need to start with your hands on a counter top for safety—but work
toward side-stepping without assistance. The dynamic sitting balance exercise will
help with your overall balance– both sitting and standing. For this exercise you’ll need
a baton or similar object. Begin in an upright seated position. Grasp the baton with your
hands about shoulder width apart—and raise your arms in front of you. Twist your torso
from side to side at a moderate speed.
Focus on maintaining balance and control. This is a dynamic standing balance exercise.
For safety you’ll need two high backed chairs. Position the chairs—one on each side–with
the chair backs facing you. Place your feet shoulder width apart. Distribute your weight
from side to side. Start with a majority of your weight on one side. Then–shift your
weight to the opposite side. Continue to shift your weight from side to side. When you feel
stable–you can do this exercise with your hands at your sides–but keep the chairs next
to you just in case. For the next part of the exercise—place your hands back on the
chairs. Keeping your feet in the same position as before– distribute your weight forward
and backward. Begin with a majority of the weight on your toes. Then shift the weight
to your heels. Keep moving from front to back–when you feel stable you can take your hands off
the chairs. In the final part of this exercise–you’ll
be moving diagonally. Again hold the chairs for safety. Start with your weight on the
toes of your right foot. Shift your weight to the heel of your left foot. You’ll do several
repetitions this way–then switch. Shift from the toes of your left foot–to the heel of
right. Do several repetitions this way too. As before–lift your hands from the chairs
when you feel stable. One thing I wanted to mention concerning your
residual limb. Every day if you will you massage your residual limb with your hands or a towel,
it will keep your soft tissue from adhering to your bony tissue. In the end, you should
have decreased pain, and you’ll walk better. For the hip abduction exercise–you’ll begin
in a seated position. Place a resistance band around your legs like this. Move your thighs
outward and away from each other. You should feet the muscles on the outside of each thigh
working. Make sure to extend through the full range of motion. When returning to your starting
position– move slowly to keep resistance on the muscles. This exercise will strengthen your hip abductor
muscles. Move into position by lying on one side. The leg closest to the ground is the
one you’ll be working. Place a rolled towel between the knee of this leg and the ground.
Rest your other leg on a footstool. Push down into the towel and lift your pelvis upward.
Hold each repetition for around ten seconds. This exercise is for hip adductor strengthening.
Lie on your side and place a footstool over one leg. Rest your other leg on top of the
stool. Press down into the stool and lift your pelvis upward by contracting the muscles
on the inside of your thigh. Hold this position for about ten seconds—then relax. This exercise will strengthen your hip extensor
muscles. Lie comfortably on your back with both legs straight. Place a rolled towel underneath
one knee. Push down into the towel and lift the corresponding hip into the air. Hold this
position for ten seconds and relax. This is a hip flexor strengthening exercise.
Lie on your stomach. Place a rolled towel underneath your leg—just above the knee.
Push down into the towel–bringing your pelvis up. Hold this position for about ten seconds
then relax. Rest for around five seconds between repetitions. For the knee extensor strengthening exercise–lie
comfortably on your stomach. Place a rolled towel between your upper shin and the ground.
Also place a pillow or folded sheet against the front of your thigh on the same leg. Push
down into the towel. Contract your quadriceps and allow your leg to straighten at the knee. This exercise will help strengthen and improve
knee flexion. Lie on your back place a rolled towel underneath one knee. Flex your knee
into the towel. You’ll be contracting your hamstrings. Hold each repetition for ten seconds.