UCSF training program helps amputees overcome physical boundaries

A group of lower-limb amputees gathered recently at the University of California, San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus to participate in the Amputee Comprehensive Training program at the Orthopaedic Institute.

The day-long program uses boot-camp style conditioning exercises, training and conditioning to ensure that each individual’s prostheses do what they need them to do during physical exercise. While trainers took individuals through sprint exercises, spinning classes, rock climbing, kickboxing classes and military physical training style exercises, a motion-capturing computer program analyzed each individual’s gait.

A team of doctors, a physical therapist, a trainer and experts in O&P then helped develop individualized patient care and rehabilitation plans for each participant.

“We work with amputees who want to do more than just learn to walk again with their artificial legs,” Alex Hetherington, MS, a prosthetist at the Orthotics and Prosthetics Centers at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a press release. “We take them from the initial fit to learning the means of running, biking or whatever activities or goals that our patients may have. Whether it’s providing that custom prosthesis, or the physical training involved, we have athletic trainers and access to unlimited resources to take these athletes to the next level.”

The next Amputee Comprehensive Training event is scheduled for the fall, which organizers hope to make a national event.

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