Physio Facts - Osseointegration - The Journey and What Rehab Entails

Osseointegration can be an excellent option for amputees who struggle with the traditional socket, for various different reasons.

Over the course of each year we hold several open days to assess your eligibility, give you an idea on what the process entails and determine if the procedure is suitable for you. During the open day you will be assessed by the Dorset Orthopaedic prosthetic team and the Relimb surgical team. This free of charge consultation enables you to understand the surgical process, the rehab involved, approximate costings and the time it will take from surgery to full weight bearing.

If after the open day it is determined that you are a suitable candidate for osseointegration and you decide to go ahead, Relimb will contact you for a further surgical consultation in London. Once your surgery is scheduled, we contact you to book in your rehab.

The week following surgery, anything from 2-7 days post-op, you will begin weight loading. There is slow loading protocol and fast loading protocol, what protocol you end up on largely depends on how your surgery goes and how the surgical team find your bone density.

Weight bearing – what to expect

To start with, you will spend 3 hours, spread out over the day, with your Physio, where we will do two loading sessions, begin your post-op exercises and stretches and use manual therapy to reduce the swelling and improve scar mobility.

For a period of approximately two weeks you will be wheelchair based and load through a special loading ‘foot’ onto a set of scales, each day you will increase the weight put through the implant which helps the bone re-form and hold the implant in place.

Fitting your prosthesis – what to expect

  • Once you have reached the desired loading weight you can be fitted for your prosthesis and begin partial weight bearing using elbow crutches.
  • You will spend 4 hours a day over 5 days with your Physio learning how to walk, exercise and work on your strength and fitness.
  • You then spend 6 weeks on elbow crutches following a set timetable of walking and standing time. During this time, you will come back into clinic every other weeks for check-ups.After your 6 weeks on crutches you then spend 4 hours a day over 5 days to move onto walking with one stick, upgrade your exercises and focus on gait re-education.
  • A further 6 weeks is spent using one stick until you spend another 5 days with your Physio to go to full weight bearing and really test out your walking skills over various terrain and surfaces.

Full weight bearing – what to expect

After your full weight bearing week you are free to walk as much as you wish, however, one of the common after effects of osseo surgery at this stage is discomfort around the implant where the muscle is attached to the bone. This usually surfaces around the 3 months post-op mark and is due to the muscles having to start working again to move your leg and the attachment to the bone being stretched. This is usually managed with continuing exercise, stretching the muscles and steroid injections.

Osseo patients report to have more sensation and awareness of the surface underneath their feet, have exceptional control of their prosthesis and enjoy the freedom it allows them to have without a socket. We will be with you every step of the way to guide you through your rehab journey and the online group resources are a great form of support.

Please feel free to contact our clinic for more information or to book onto our next open day.