Low back pain in persons with lower extremity amputation: a systematic review of the literature

M. Jason Highsmith*, Lisa M. Goff, Amanda L. Lewandowski, Shawn Farrokhi, Brad D. Hendershot, Owen T. Hill, Christopher A. Rábago, Elizabeth Russell-Esposito, John J. Orriola, John M. Mayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND CONTEXT: Lower extremity amputation (LEA) is associated with an elevated risk for development and progression of secondary health conditions. Low back pain (LBP) is one such condition adversely affecting function, independence, and quality of life. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature to determine the strength of evidence relating the presence and severity of LBP secondary to LEA, thereby supporting the formulation of empirical evidence statements (EESs) to guide practice and future research. STUDY DESIGN/SETTING: Systematic review of the literature. METHODS: A systematic review of five databases was conducted followed by evaluation of evidence and synthesis of EESs. RESULTS: Seventeen manuscripts were included. From these, eight EESs were synthesized within the following categories: epidemiology, amputation level, function, disability, leg length, posture, spinal kinematics, and osseointegrated prostheses. Only the EES on epidemiology was supported by evidence at the moderate confidence level given support by eight moderate quality studies. The four EESs for amputation level, leg length, posture, and spinal kinematics were supported by evidence at the low confidence level given that each of these statements had some evidence not supporting the statement but ultimately more evidence (and of higher quality) currently supporting the statement. The remaining three EESs that addressed function, disability and osseointegrated prosthetic use were all supported by single studies or had comparable evidence that disagreed with study findings rendering insufficient evidence to support the respective EES. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the state of the current evidence, appropriate preventative and, particularly, treatment strategies to manage LBP in persons with LEA remain a knowledge gap and an area of future study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-563
Number of pages12
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Amputee
  • Limb loss
  • Lumbago
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal pain
  • Transfemoral
  • Transtibial


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