Impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on physical activity and quality of life in adults with lower limb amputation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: This study investigated the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on ambulatory activity and health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in people with a lower limb amputation (LLA) in Norway. We hypothesized that the restrictions would negatively affect HR-QoL and decrease prosthetic wear time and ambulatory activity in participants with already limited mobility. Methods: Twenty individuals with LLA (age and time since amputation 56.2 ± 11.9 and 22.3 ± 20.1 years, respectively) participated. Ambulatory activity (stepwatch: prosthetic wear time; steps per day; minutes of low-intensity (1–15 steps min-1), moderate-intensity (16–40 steps min-1), and high-intensity ambulation (>40 steps min-1)) and HR-QoL (EQ-5D-5L) data were collected prepandemic and 8–12 months later during pandemic restrictions. Semistructured interviews identified personal experiences of coping with restrictions. Results: Prosthetic wear time decreased significantly (−1.0 ± 1.5 hours day-1, p < 0.05). Steps per day (440 ± 1481), moderate-intensity and high-intensity ambulation (3.7 ± 23.4, and 4.8 ± 13.9 minutes day-1, respectively), and EQ-5D-5L index (.02 ± .10) increased, whereas low-intensity ambulation decreased (−1.5 ± 16.1 minutes day-1), all nonsignificant changes. Qualitative analysis identified three themes related to coping with restrictions: (1) personal situation, (2) a prosthetic user’s perspective, and (3) mindset. Conclusions: Increased time spent at home might explain the decreased prosthetic wear time. Contrary to the hypothesis, participants did not decrease their physical activity, and the declined low-intensity ambulation was offset by increased moderate-intensity and high-intensity ambulation. A positive mindset, intrinsic motivation, and health awareness may be important factors for maintaining ambulatory activity and HR-QoL in people with LLA.