Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 49 Number 10, 2012
   Pages 1431 — 1442

Abstract — Beyond componentry: How principles of motor learning can enhance locomotor rehabilitation of individuals with lower limb loss—A review

Andrew Sawers, CPO, PhD;1–2* Michael E. Hahn, PhD;1,3 Valerie E. Kelly, PT, PhD;2 Joseph M. Czerniecki, MD;1–2 Deborah Kartin, PT, PhD2

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering, VA Puget Sound, Seattle, WA; Departments of 2Rehabilitation Medicine and 3Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Abstract — Relatively little attention has been given to the use of well-established motor learning strategies to enable individuals with lower limb loss to effectively and safely learn to walk with their prostheses in the home and community. Traditionally, such outcomes have been pursued by focusing on the design and function of a patient’s prosthesis, rather than on how he or she should learn to use it. The use of motor learning strategies may enhance physical rehabilitation outcomes among individuals with lower limb loss. This review explores these motor learning strategies and ways in which they can be applied to the physical rehabilitation of individuals with lower limb loss and highlights some of the challenges to their implementation, as well as unanswered research questions.

Key words: amputee, artificial limb, gait, learning, limb loss, locomotion, practice, prosthesis, rehabilitation, training.


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