A review of musculoskeletal adaptations in individuals following major lower-limb amputation

M. G. Finco, Suhhyun Kim, Wayne Ngo, Rachel A. Menegaz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Structural musculoskeletal adaptations following amputation, such as bone mineral density (BMD) or muscle architecture, are often overlooked despite their established contributions to gait rehabilitation and the development of adverse secondary physical conditions. The purpose of this review is to provide a summary of the existing literature investigating musculoskeletal adaptations in individuals with major lower-limb amputations to inform clinical practice and provide directions for future research. Google Scholar, PubMed, and Scopus were searched for original peer-reviewed studies that included individuals with transtibial or transfemoral amputations. Summary data of twenty-seven articles indicated reduced BMD and increased muscle atrophy in amputees compared to controls, and in the amputated limb compared to intact and control limbs. Specifically, BMD was reduced in T-scores and Z-scores, femoral neck, and proximal tibia. Muscle atrophy was evidenced by decreased thigh cross-sectional area, decreased quadriceps thickness, and increased amounts of thigh fat. Overall, amputees have impaired musculoskeletal health. Future studies should include dysvascular etiologies to address their effects on musculoskeletal health and functional mobility. Moreover, clinicians can use these findings to screen increased risks of adverse sequelae such as fractures, osteopenia/porosis, and muscular atrophy, as well as target specific rehabilitation exercises to reduce these risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-283
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Musculoskeletal Neuronal Interactions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Anatomy
  • Limb Loss
  • Physiology
  • Remodeling
  • Symmetry


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