Swimming with limb absence : a review of the literature

Dyer, Bryce TJ and Deans, Sarah A (2017) Swimming with limb absence : a review of the literature. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering, 4. ISSN 2055-6683 (https://doi.org/10.1177/2055668317725451)

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Swimming with limb absence is undertaken as a source of leisure or rehabilitation and forms part of the current Paralympic Games competition programme. Whilst it is often proposed that research into sport with limb absence can be limited, this study identified the volume, type and historical interest of research regarding swimming with limb absence. A modified PRISMA search protocol was adopted for this review, and five bibliographic databases were used to identify relevant articles. The review identified 24 papers which met the pre-defined inclusion criteria. The identified peer-reviewed publications dated from 1983 to 2015. The trend of publication indicated an initial focus on the design of prosthetics technology with emphasis then shifting specifically to an interest in swimming biomechanics from 2006. The overall trend of publication in this field is a positive one. In this review, four clear themes emerged. These included the general background of swimming with limb absence, the development of lower limb prosthetics technology, swimming with limb absence whilst performing the front crawl stroke and the technique used by those with unilateral elbow disarticulation. From these, four further themes have been identified for pursuit in the immediate future. This review will assist those who are interested in prescribing swimming with limb absence as a form of exercise or to those who wish to pursue it competitively.