The Art of Prolongued Positioning
Current literature concerning stretching techniques suggests that prolongued mild stretches have better results than intense quick stretches when discussing improved joint mobility. This suggests that our limited clinic time should not focus on improved range of motion, but rather, educate the patient to focus on improved joint mobility at home. The individual with limb loss can obtain these mobility goals with proper prolonged positioning. In a previous post, it was suggested to use “tummy time” to promote hip extension and knee extension. This stretch can become more intense by adding ankle weights over the residual limb to increase knee extension. The weights can be placed over the limb or wrapped around the limb using the Velcro, dependent upon the comfort of the patient. Also, a pillow can also be added under the hips of the patient in prone to improve hip extension. Most importantly, this technique needs to be built into the patients typical daily schedule to insure consistency with the stretch. Individuals are more likely to complete the daily positioning stretches if they are already built into their day. For example, instruct the individual to lay in this position while watching TV, playing with their phone, or completing homework. Also, individuals can maintain this position for several minutes before each meal as the meantime will prompt them to remember as opposed to instructing the individual to "complete this stretch three times a day. Small additions such as ankle weights can significantly improve this maintained positioning stretch.