Physical Therapy Dept. Supports Limb Loss Community | PCOM Georgia
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PCOM Georgia Physical Therapy Dept. Supports Individuals with Limb Loss

September 9, 2022

Students from the Physical Therapy program demonstrate mobility exercisesRecently, the Department of Physical Therapy, under the leadership of Professor Carol A. Miller, PT, PhD, hosted a free limb loss community event entitled "Beyond Amputation:  Living Well & Enjoying Life!"

The event attracted close to 100 individuals including individuals with limb loss and their supporters, speakers from a wide variety of health professions, and exhibitors who shared information with the attendees and provided funding for lunch and future events. Dr. Miller called the event “a major success” and thanked the many volunteers who made it possible, including students.

Student Jacob Kostelec (DPT ’23) described the experience. “Being able to integrate the hands-on skills we have learned under Dr. Miller's instruction with individuals in the limb loss community was an invaluable learning experience that I will cherish and reflect on well into my future clinical experiences. I hope to see future students of physical therapy receive a similar opportunity, as it bridges the gap between classroom didactics and real-world practice for patients with limb loss.”

Miller noted that the day was designed to empower individuals living with limb loss and their families to move beyond amputation and learn how to return to living their highest level of ability and quality of life. She said that the primary goal of the sessions was to provide an open and supportive environment where individuals could learn, build confidence with physical activity and movement, share experiences, ask questions, and become actively engaged with others in the limb loss community.

Students from the Physical Therapy program demonstrate mobility exercisesDr. Miller said, “Providing events such as these truly supports the mission of PCOM and the Doctor of Physical Therapy program by engaging in service that contributes to the well-being  of those in need in our communities.”

Cameron Ragland (DPT ’23), said, “As a DPT student, this event allowed us the opportunity to go beyond what we have studied in the curriculum and truly engage with those within the limb loss community. Learning their stories, delving deeper into real life experiences, and getting hands-on practice with various techniques and exercises was invaluable and provided us with resources we can take with us when we're practicing therapists.”

The event was timely. Dr. Miller explained, “Even with telehealth options, the pandemic made it more difficult for people with limb loss to access the care and resources they need to help promote the highest quality of life.”

Sessions included exercise mobility clinics, in which third year doctor of physical therapy students assisted, adaptive sports including hiking, cycling and golf, managing phantom limb pain and neuropathy, and care for the caregivers.

Presenters for the various sessions included physical therapists, prosthetists, physicians, nurses and individuals who serve as peer visitors.

Rex Burruss, an Amputee Coalition support group leader, presented at the Saturday event.

He said, “I am beyond thankful for the ongoing commitment that PCOM Georgia makes to helping to educate and enable Atlanta’s amputee community.”

On Friday, before the Saturday event, a continuing education course entitled “Are you Afraid of the Prosthesis? Current Prosthetic Design and PT Management for Adults with Lower Limb Loss,” was held.

PT students getting hands-on practiceAccording to Miller, the eight-hour course was designed to enhance knowledge of prosthetic design and to discover a broad scope of exercises to promote optimal gait function for adults living with lower limb amputation. The speakers presented current and clinically useful approaches to rehabilitation management using a holistic philosophy for optimizing health and wellness.

During the session, specific intervention strategies that focused on reducing fall risk, improving balance and prosthetic gait were taught using patient models and through hands-on interactions.

Twenty-five physical therapists and physical therapist assistants from PCOM Georgia’s partner clinical, hospital and practice centers attended the program. Additionally, 14 Doctor of Physical Therapy students, members of the PCOM Georgia class of 2023, attended the course.

Burrus added, “With events like this, your institution helps connect individuals—while connecting them with products, services, and healthcare professionals. Facilitating ties within the limb loss/limb difference community gives many resources they might otherwise never acquire while empowering them to make informed decisions about their wellness and improve their mobility.”

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  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science, and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit or call 678-225-7500.

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