The Effectiveness of Exercise Interventions to Improve Gait and Balance in Individuals with Lower Limb Amputations: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Libak Abou, Alexander Fliflet, Luqi Zhao, Yiting Du, Laura Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of exercise interventions to improve gait and balance in individuals with lower limb amputations. Methods: A systematic search was conducted on the PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, SPORTDiscuss, and CINAHL databases until January 2022. Only randomized control trials that evaluated adults (>18 years old) with lower limb amputations and compared any exercise intervention with a traditional prosthetic training were included in the study. Two independent researchers screened articles for inclusion, extracted data, and evaluated the methodological quality of the trials. Findings were summarized and meta-analysis was conducted. Results: Fifteen randomized clinical trials with 594 participants were included in the study and 12 in quantitative synthesis. Meta-analysis indicates that exercise interventions significantly improved walking distance measured with the 2-Minute Walking Test compared to traditional training (mean difference-MD: 8.38, 95% CI: 2.54−14.23; P < 0.01). Gait speed performance also significantly improved after exercise interventions compared to traditional training (MD: 0.10, 95% CI, 0.03−0.16, P <0.01). Meta-analysis of exercise interventions compared to traditional training on the Locomotor Capabilities Index, Timed Up and Go, and Activities-specific Balance Confidence did not show a statistically significant difference (P > 0.05). However, the qualitative analysis demonstrated significant improvement in balance performance after different exercise interventions and traditional training. The studies demonstrated overall good methodological quality. Conclusion: Specific exercise interventions are more effective than traditional prosthetic training to improve walking speed and walking distance among people with lower limb amputation. Findings on balance outcomes are inconsistent and deserve further exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-872
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • amputation
  • Exercise
  • gait
  • lower extremity
  • postural control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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