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How Daily Prosthetic Usage Influences Quality of Life in Lower-Limb Amputees

    Quality of life is understandably among the top concerns of new lower-limb amputees. Potential issues with health care, work, and emotional and physical health often take center stage when individuals begin their amputee journey. Previous studies have pointed to using prosthetic limbs to improve quality of life, but how can using a prosthetic limb daily influence quality of life? Researchers sought to find out.

     Researchers found that using prosthetic limbs daily has a positive impact on the quality of life of lower-limb amputees.

    Researchers analyzed the data of 125 individuals with amputation. They used a generic Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) questionnaire and the Trinity Amputation and Prosthesis Experience Scales (TAPES) questionnaire to collect the data. The former consists of 38 items that help healthcare professionals assess a patient’s physical mobility, sleep, pain, energy level, social isolation, and emotional reactions. Meanwhile, the latter consists of questions that examine different aspects of using a prosthetic limb.

    The study participants comprised 91 males and 28 females with a mean age of 42.4 ± 14.7 years. They used their prostheses for an average of 11.1 ± 4.4 hours per day.

    After analyzing the participants’ answers, the researchers found a high correlation between the participants’ daily prosthesis usage time and the total score of the NHP questionnaire, particularly the questions assessing pain. The researchers also found a very high correlation between daily prosthesis usage time and the study participants’ energy levels, emotional reactions, social isolation, and sleep quality.

    Upon assessing the scores of the TAPES questionnaire, the researchers found a high correlation between daily prosthesis usage time and prosthetic satisfaction, residual limb pain, number of prosthetic fittings, and time interval after amputation. Furthermore, the researchers found a moderate negative link between a participant’s daily prosthesis usage time and activity restriction.

    A moderate correlation was found between participants’ daily prosthesis usage time and walking aids, whereas the correlation between the occurrence of phantom pain and daily prosthesis usage time was poor.

    Through this study, the researchers found that determining the average daily prosthesis usage time may help plan a rehabilitation program. It’s also helpful in assessing a lower-limb amputee’s quality of life in the short term, as the study’s outcomes showed that prosthetic-related parameters influenced their quality of life.