Roehampton PhD student runs online clinic to support lower limb amputees in remaining active through lockdown

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Roehampton PhD student Miranda Asher was completing her doctoral research project developing training programmes for people with lower limb amputations when the COVID-19 pandemic begun. The nationwide lockdown ended the possibility for in-person sessions, so Miranda Asher turned to video classes to support her clients in remaining active.

Image - Roehampton PhD student runs online clinic to support lower limb amputees in remaining active through lockdown
Photo credit: LimbPower

Before the lockdown, Miranda’s work and research was focused around supporting people with lower limb amputations to become more active using their prosthetics. With the research element of her project completed, this mostly involved one-to-one physiotherapy sessions in people’s homes and working in conjunction with the charity LimbPower, who work with amputees and individuals with limb impairments to engage in physical activity.

When lockdown was introduced in March, all in-person sessions had to stop. However, for those with lower limb amputations, the new stay at home rule posed unique challenges to staying active. Walking and gait training traditionally involves direct observation in a clinic where physiotherapy, balance support and new prosthetic adjustments can be given.

To ensure her clients were able to continue with their physiotherapy, Miranda and LimbPower set up online video sessions. These sessions include exercise programmes to complete when seated, so those who are unable to use their prosthetics can work on their strength, open discussion groups to share their experiences with other amputees and confidential one-on-one video chats where Miranda is able to review recordings made of her clients walking, and offer tailored advice and demonstrations to aid in their rehabilitation.

Even as lockdown begins to ease, Miranda has said “it will take a long time for our services to resume as there’s a backlog of people needing support and many healthcare providers are still redeployed across the NHS”. She’s therefore been working with LimbPower to build on their online content, so more advice is readily available.

Miranda added, “there are fears that people with physical disabilities will be the last ones reintegrated into ‘normal life’ as the new normal kicks in. It is important that we keep focused on supporting this diverse range of people, everyone is different, but everyone needs activity to support health and the key is working within their current abilities and building upon them.”

The University of Roehampton offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the area of human biology. Our Life Sciences department also runs the Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre with state-of-the-art equipment including a physiology laboratory, environmental chamber, cell-culture and wet laboratories, psychology and biomechanics laboratories.