Casting a Transtibial Socket

Knowledge of prosthetic components, alignment, and function is important for Physiotherapists. During the rehabilitation process, it is likely that the Physiotherapist will spend many hours with the amputee, much of this spent on training them to use their prosthesis correctly.

This means that the Physiotherapist should be familiar with the prosthesis, for the following reasons:

  • They must know whether the prosthesis fits, and is aligned optimally, in order to discern whether gait deviations or pain are due to prosthetic causes, or patient causes
  • They must be aware of the functionality of different components, in order to be able to teach the amputee to use it to its (or the patients!) full capability
  • They must be able to teach the amputee to don the prosthesis correctly, and then be able to recognise when it is fitting comfortably, and what to do to be able to rectify any problems that arise
  • They must be able to recognise that different components work in different ways, and be able to choose training strategies that are most appropriate for that device. For example, knees that require a hip extension moment to lock them into extension in stance, versus knees that allow a more natural type of yield during weight acceptance.
  • They must be aware of any pitfalls, risks, or contraindications to using certain prosthetic components in certain situations, for example, if loading the toe unlocks a particular type of knee joint, then special instruction must be given for tasks such as walking backwards or climbing ladders

The best way to gain knowledge of prosthetics is to liaise closely with your prosthetists. That way, together with knowledge of gait biomechanics and the Physiotherapists skills as a coach, the amputee can be taught to use their prosthesis to full capacity, safely and without risk of damage to their stump.

The pages in this Portal, plus the documents and presentations listed, describe the functionality of many different prosthetic components, which should allow Physiotherapists to be comfortable in training patients with them, from check out of a new prosthesis, to strategies for advanced functional tasks.