BACKGROUND: The devastating earthquake in Sichuan in 2008 has left many adolescent amputees. However, little research has been focused on the adolescent amputees who have high potential to return to premorbid activity level. OBJECTIVES: To investigate daily step activities and prosthesis-related quality of life of the adolescent transtibial and transfemoral amputees after the earthquake. STUDY DESIGN: A prospective and descriptive study. METHODS: A total of 21 adolescent unilateral amputees (11 transtibial and 10 transfemoral amputees) were recruited. Step Activity Monitors and Prosthesis Evaluation Questionnaire were used to assess patients over a 3-month period. RESULTS: The average number of steps per day was 4577 +/- 849 and 2551 +/- 693 in transtibial and transfemoral amputees, respectively. Transtibial amputees had significantly higher (p < 0.05) levels of step activity than transfemoral amputees in all Step Activity Monitors measures. Prosthetic compliance was good with daily wearing time of above 12 h/day in both groups. Prosthesis Evaluation Questionnaire scores showed no significant difference between two groups. CONCLUSIONS: The subjective quality of life is similar for adolescent amputees across transtibial and transfemoral amputation levels. Higher levels of step activity of transtibial amputees suggest that they have had lower energy expenditure and more capacity for ambulation. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This article involves a unique subset of young amputees who have sustained traumatic amputations following a major natural disaster. It provides a better understanding on the daily activities and quality of life, and could assist in optimizing the prosthetic outcomes of this subset of populations.
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