SOUTH FREMANTLE physiotherapist Beck Hefferon has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to find out how Australia can catch up with other developed countries in helping amputees recover.
Australia has the second-highest rate of amputation in the developed world, mainly because of our burgeoning diabetes rates. But we’ve fallen behind the United States and Europe in biomechanical and prosthetic treatments for gait problems; managing phantom limb pain and managing sensory defecits that limit an amputee’s recovery and quality of life.
Ms Hefferon, who works at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, says that without physiotherapy, amputees face mobility problems and unnecessary pain. “Another thing we know is that physiotherapy is evolving, with overseas leaders in the field not just researching but developing, right now, innovative, effective and beneficial treatments and techniques,” Ms Hefferon said.