This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Exercise After Burn Injury. Jeffrey Schneider, MD, researcher, discusses Exercising After Amputation from Burn Injury.

Jeffrey Schneider, M.D.

Project Director, Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System Center

Medical Director, Burn & Trauma, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

For some people who have a burn injury, one of the severe complications they might face would be an amputation. This occurs when people have very deep burn wounds, burn injuries that affect the deeper tissue below the skin. And for these people, you know, exercise is also a really key component of their recovery. Amputations are subject to their own sort of challenges.

And one of the main challenges is first learning how to sort of get around and be mobile with your new amputation and sort of new set of circumstances. And, you know, the rehabilitation phase is really key to doing that. Initially people often learn how to become mobile without using a prosthesis until that residual limb heals. But eventually they’re fit with usually a new prosthetic limb for the amputated leg or upper extremity.

And that involves a whole nother process of sort of learning how to walk with a mechanical limb attached to your body. And that takes a lot of hard work. It’s not something necessarily that’s natural. And a lot of persistence but, you know, this becomes sort of — the exercise aspect in rehabilitation is sort of key to their getting back and being active again and doing the things that they want to do.

So, even people with the most severe injuries, people with amputations after a burn injury, people who are dealing with sort of different physical consequences and realities after their injury, you know, the technology that’s out there today and the ways we have of sort of adapting equipment and there’s sort of still a wide variety of options in terms of exercise. And I like to tell people that really there’s close to nothing you can’t do. We can find a way to figure out how to do it if that’s something you want to do.

We have people who, you know, are active bikers using their upper extremities to bike. We have people who are windsurfing who, you know, are bilateral amputees. So, you know, sort of there’s a whole adaptive sports movement, and at Spaulding we have a large adaptive sports program for, you know, for finding lots of different activities for people with different abilities and finding ways to have them engage in activities they want to engage in.

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