Samantha Stauffer, CPO, MSOP, Dr. J. Megan Sions, PT, DPT, PhD, & John Horne, CPO
Preventing a fall can be a daily concern for people living with lower-limb loss. For some, a fall is merely a nuisance, while for others it may lead to severe injury. Over half of adults with lower-limb amputations report at least one fall in the past 12 months, with injury occurring in over 40% of cases.1 This thought in the back of your mind may lead you to avoid certain activities, like going to a crowded area, or to the park, or a walk on a poorly maintained sidewalk – but did you know that most falls actually occur in the comfort of your own home?2
What puts me at risk of a fall?
There are many factors that contribute to how likely you are to have a fall. Some are outside of your control, like your age,1,3 the cause of your amputation,1,4 or what how high your leg was amputated.1,5 However, there are some risk factors that you have the power to change.
What can I do to prevent falls?
At the Amputee Coalition National Conference in Palm Desert, CA, you have the opportunity to sit down with a physical therapist and prosthetists to discuss what may put you at risk for a fall, as well as what you can do to prevent them. They will guide you through how to interpret a self-assessment of your balance confidence and how it may influence your physical and social activity.6,7
But what if I do fall?
These healthcare professionals will demonstrate how to fall safely to minimize risk of injury and will teach you different strategies to get up from a fall if you have someone else with you or if you are alone. You will also learn signs that you may have a significant injury and should call for help before trying to move.
Learn more at the live session at the National Conference on Friday, August 12th at 10:45 am.
- Hunter SW, Batchelor F, Hill KD, et al. Risk Factors for Falls in People With a Lower Limb Amputation: A Systematic Review. PM R 2017; 9: 170-180.e1.
- Anderson CB, Miller MJ, Murray AM, et al. Falls After Dysvascular Transtibial Amputation: A Secondary Analysis of Falling Characteristics and Reduced Physical Performance. PM R 2021; 13: 19–29.
- Pauley T, Devlin M, Heslin K. Falls Sustained During Inpatient Rehabilitation After Lower Limb Amputation. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2006; 85: 521–532.
- Yu JC, Lam K, Nettel-Aguirre A, et al. Incidence and Risk Factors of Falling in the Postoperative Lower Limb Amputee While on the Surgical Ward. PM&R 2010; 2: 926–934.
- Miller WC, Speechley M, Deathe B. The prevalence and risk factors of falling and fear of falling among lower extremity amputees. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001; 82: 1031–1037.
- Mandel A, Paul K, Paner R, et al. Balance confidence and activity of community-dwelling patients with transtibial amputation. J Rehabil Res Dev 2016; 53: 551–560.
- Miller WC, Deathe AB. The influence of balance confidence on social activity after discharge from prosthetic rehabilitation for first lower limb amputation. Prosthetics Orthot Int 2011; 35: 379–385.