Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Number of Pages
Background and Purpose: Current research has revealed that as much as 52.4% of individuals with lower limb loss report falling at least once in the past year. Previous research has also indicated that rehabilitation, including physical therapy (PT), generally improves patient outcomes after definitive amputation. Socioeconomic status has been shown to be an important factor in accessing healthcare but has yet to be investigated in this population. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of socioeconomic status and access to PT, and how limb loss affects mobility and fear of falling perception. We hypothesized:  individuals with socioeconomic difficulty would have reduced access to PT after amputation, and  individuals with limb loss will have increased fear of falling and decreased mobility performance when compared to non-amputee, age-matched controls. Subjects: 23 participants (7 females,16 males) mean age 51.30 years old (+ 13.17 SD, range 22-70) with lower limb loss ambulating with a definitive prosthesis. Materials/Methods: Participants completed a survey that included the Fear of Falling Avoidance Behavior Questionnaire (FFABQ), questions to determine their socioeconomic status, and whether they received PT after amputation. Mobility outcomes were measured using the standardized Timed Up and Go test (TUG) and the Six Minute Walk Test (6MWT). Results: There was no statistically significant difference in access to PT after amputation between those with and without financial difficulty (p=.354). However, 75% of participants who had no socioeconomic difficulty reported receiving PT, in comparison to only 25% in those who had socioeconomic difficulty. Additionally, 34.8% of our participants reported socioeconomic difficulties. When comparing the participants with amputation to the non-amputee, age-matched controls, there was a significant difference in the TUG (p<.001), 6MWT (p<.001), and FFABQ (p=.008). On average, participants with limb loss were 4.4 seconds slower on the TUG, walked 136.4m less on the 6MWT, and had an increased FFABQ score of 6.6 points out of 56 points. Discussion: Access to physical therapy and socioeconomic status have been overlooked in current literature for individuals after amputation. While the effect of socioeconomic status on PT access did not reach statistical significance in this preliminary study, only 25% of those who reported socioeconomic difficulty received physical therapy after amputation, compared to 75% in those who reported no difficulty. Further research is needed to determine whether low socioeconomic status is predictive of receiving rehabilitation services post-amputation and long-term outcomes. Our findings also showed that when compared to age-matched non-amputees, amputees tend to have impaired mobility and higher degree of fear of falling. These findings agree with current literature. Conclusion: Although not statistically significant, our preliminary findings showed that socioeconomic difficulty may affect access to physical therapy after amputation. Furthermore, our data demonstrated that individuals with lower limb loss exhibit reduced mobility performance and increased fear of falling when compared to the age-matched controls.
Lower limb loss; Fear of falling; Mobility outcomes; Amputation; Socioeconomic status; Socioeconomic difficulty
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Chin, Tyler; Fox, Heather; and Gutierrez, Juan Jr., "The Influence of Socioeconomic Factors on Fear of Falling and Mobility Outcomes after Lower Limb Loss: a Preliminary Study" (2018). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 3559.