BACKGROUND: The pneumatic postamputation mobility (PPAM) aid is the most commonly used early walking aid in the United Kingdom in transtibial amputation (TTA) and promotes wound healing and prepares the stump for prosthetic limb fitting. Optimal guidelines for PPAM aid use and how these factors affect achievement of rehabilitation milestones have not yet been conclusively established.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between PPAM aid use and the time taken to achieve rehabilitation milestones in patients undergoing unilateral TTA.
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective case note analysis.
METHODS: Case notes of patients from one National Health Service amputation rehabilitation center who were identified as having a unilateral TTA in 2017-2018 and fitted with a prosthesis were reviewed.
RESULTS: One hundred seven patients (67.5% male; mean age of 59.9 years) were identified. Use of PPAM aid during inpatient physiotherapy was associated with the days to reach referral, casting, delivery of prosthetic limb, and inpatient discharge dates (r (105) =-0.345; -0.400; -0.423; 0.546, respectively, all P < 0.05). Frequency of PPAM aid use was associated with the time to reach casting (r (105) =-0.533, P < 0.05) and delivery (r (105) =-0.513, P < 0.05). The days to being PPAM aid use and the frequency of PPAM aid use were predictive of the days to reach referral, casting, delivery, and inpatient discharge.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of the PPAM aid is associated with a reduction in the time taken to reach rehabilitation milestones. Early and more frequent use of PPAM aid during rehabilitation will decrease the time fit and delivery of the prosthetic limb.