The objective of this pilot study was to investigate the effectiveness of combining an amputee limb cover to eliminate the effects of electromagnetic fields (i.e., pain) and a Mirror Therapy exercise program to improve functional outcomes for vascular amputees. A cross-sectional repeated-measures design was used with 14 participants with either acute amputations or surgery at least 8 to 24 months previously. The 4-week intervention included the use of an amputee limb cover and mirror therapy exercises each day. The outcome measures were activities of daily living interference (e.g., self-care, walking, car transfer, low chair transfer, sleep), and well-being (e.g., satisfaction, mood, quality of life) at three times (pre- and posttreatment and maintenance). Participants with acute amputations made significant improvements in the areas of self-care, walking, car transfer, sleep, mood, and quality of life, while the subacute participants improved significantly in sleep and satisfaction. A reduction in the time required before prosthetic fitting decreased from 12 weeks to 8 weeks for acute amputees and an improvement in wearing tolerance from 0-2 to 8-12 hours for the subacute amputees were unexpected results suggesting the combined intervention may improves the extent to which amputees can increase participation in their activities of everyday living.
Keywords: Amputation; Electromagnetic fields; Phantom limb pain; Quality of life.