You will see a physiotherapist initially whilst you are in hospital, and will then be referred to your local hospital to continue physiotherapy as an out-patient. You will continue physiotherapy after your frame has been removed, to make sure you recover and achieve your full potential.
Physiotherapy can help prevent a number of common problems that can occur in patients undergoing limb reconstruction. Your physiotherapist will assess your joints. muscles and tendons and show you exercises designed to work on any problems they observe. These exercises may aim to increase the strength in weak muscles, stretch tight muscles and tendons, or move joints through their full range of movement.
Patients with a lower leg frame tend to have specific problems with their foot, so this may be an area on which you need to concentrate. You may have to wear splints to keep you arm or leg in a good position while you are resting. You will also be advised how to rest, for example keeping your arm or leg elevated to control swelling. Swelling can also be managed by massage which your physiotherapist can teach you.
Once your consultant is happy for you to do so, taking weight through your arm or leg is very important. It stretches muscles and tendons and stimulates healing. Patients with a leg frame often find this difficult and tend to walk with a limp. Your physiotherapist will works with you to improve your mobility and to make sure you have a good walking pattern.
A limb reconstruction frame can affect your balance reactions, also known as proprioception. This is another area of rehabilitation that you will have to work on and your physiotherapist will give you exercises to do at home. Throughout the limb reconstruction process you should use your arm or leg as normally as possible, and your physiotherapist will advise you on how you can be as independent as possible.