An amputation usually refers to the removal of the whole or part of an arm/hand or a leg/foot. Amputations can occur after an injury (traumatic amputation) or deliberately at surgery. When preforming an amputation, a surgeon removes a limb, or part of a limb, that is no longer useful to the individual and is causing them great pain, or threatens their health because of extensive infection.Physicians as well as patients consider amputation a last resort.

Amputation of a limb or limbs will affect individuals in different ways. It is a very personal loss many patients report feelings of bereavement. It can be emotionally challenging for individuals to accept physical body and effects on all areas of an individual's life. The effect of the amputation will vary to each individual and will depend upon the individuals physical recovery.

There is virtually no activity that a person with an amputation cannot perform when they are provided with the right help, training and equipment. Our Occupational Therapists can help individual regain their ability to perform activities of daily living such as: washing, dressing, cooking and cleaning independently. Our Occupational therapists also have the skills and knowledge to provide advice on ways to modify the environment in order to prevent falls or other injuries from occurring.

Problems associated with Amputations

Wound healing complications associated with the stump of an amputee are important because in some cases these determine a patient's ability to walk or use a prosthetic limb. In addition these complications can impact on an individual's ability to:

  • Wash
  • Dress
  • Drive
  • Cook
  • Clean
  • Climb the stairs

Our Occupational Therapy interventions have been proven to enhance an individual's sense of enjoyment and identity, increase their functional independence, decrease unwanted behaviours and lessen the burden of care felt by caregivers. This is done through various methods for example, adapting the physical environment to maximise function, educating family members on coping skills and de-escalation techniques and through promoting healthy psychosocial functioning.

How can these difficulties impact on function?

Limb amputation impacts greatly on the individual along with their family members also. It affects a person's ability to function independently. Below is a summary of how a limb amputation can affect the different aspects of an individual's life:


  • Difficulties washing and dressing independently
  • Difficulties cleaning
  • Difficulties cooking and feeding
  • Risk of falls


  • Stigma
  • Difficulties participating in leisure activities
  • Feelings of depression and stress
  • Reduced motivation

What exactly is an amputation?

The surgical removal of all or part of a limb or extremity such as an arm, leg, foot, hand, toe or finger is also known as amputation.

About 1.8 million individuals are living with amputations. Amputation of the leg - either above or below the knee - is the most common amputation surgery.

There are many reasons an amputation may be necessary. The most common cause for amputation is due to poor circulation which causes damage or narrowing of the arteries, this is called peripheral arterial disease. This means there is inadequate blood flow to the body's cells therefore the cells cannot receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients, as a result affected tissue begins to die. This can lead to infection.

Other causes for amputation may include:

  • Severe injury (from a vehicle accident or serious burn, for example)
  • Cancerous tumour in the bone or muscle of the limb
  • Serious infection that does not get better with antibiotics or other treatment
  • Thickening of nerve tissue, called a neuroma
  • Frostbite
  • Diabetes

The recovery following a limb amputation depends on the type of procedure and anaesthesia used.

Occupational Therapy assessments suitable for amputations

Our Occupational Therapyassessments for those who hand had a limb amputation are fully comprehensive and are targeted around the needs of each individual. Relevant information can to be gathered, aiding the development of an appropriate treatment plan. Assessments suitable for those with a limb amputation include the following:

  • Cognitive assessments
  • Functional assessment
  • Activities of daily living assessments
  • Aids and adaptations assessment
  • Risk assessment

Non-standardised assessmentscan also be carried out with individuals with a limb amputation. These allow for our Occupational Therapists to observe and interview individuals regarding their activities of daily living. It is through applying both standardised and non-standardised assessments whereby our Occupational Therapists can gather information that is completely accurate, ensuring treatment plans are truly effective.

Occupational therapy treatment available

Our Occupational Therapy treatments and services are specially designed to engage individuals with limb amputations and aid their participation in everyday activities. Our Occupational Therapists use key enablement skills to help promote the health and well-being of each individual we treat. Our treatments aim to allow individuals with a limb amputation improve on the following:

  • Functional independence
  • Social interaction
  • Safety
  • Improve self-care
  • Mood management abilities


Our Occupational Therapists can play a large role in all stages of the rehabilitation of people with limb amputation. Our Occupational Therapy endeavours to restore the individual's independence in activities of daily living, skills in functional performance, infuse evidence based practice to ensure that our intervention are effective and beneficial.

How to arrange to see an occupational therapist?

If you or a family member would benefit from one of our Occupational Therapy assessments then please feel free to contact us at or Call us on 02033 937 332



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

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