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Residual Limb Positioning

Keeping your residual limb in the right position is vital. This helps prevent muscle shortening and tightening (contracture), which can prevent full range of motion. To avoid developing a contracture, you’ll need to keep your knee positioned as straight as possible when seated or lying down.

When seated, always support your residual limb to keep it from dangling or hanging. When sitting in a wheelchair or a regular chair, you can use an “extension board” which is a flat board that extends outward to support your residual limb.  When lying down it is important to avoid propping your residual limb on pillows or blankets. Keep your residual limb flat, with your knee or hip as straight as you can as much as possible.

If your amputation is an above the knee, spending time lying flat on your stomach is helpful to stretch the hip and thigh muscles.  These muscles get tight when you sit through out the day. It’s important to spend 15 to 20 minutes in this position several times a day to help maintain normal range of motion.