Your mobility options

Rich Ball / Self Care

Is a prosthesis the best option for me?

  • A prosthesis is useful for returning to walking. It allows for the possibility of walking without a walking aid and enables you to weight bear more equally on both legs.
  • However, you may need to use a walking aid as well as a prosthesis, which means you are unable to walk and carry things at the same time.
  • Walking with a prosthesis uses more energy than walking with two legs (especially walking with an above-knee prosthesis).
  • Wearing a prosthesis can cause skin problems if it doesn’t fit properly or you don’t practice good stump and socket hygiene.
  • Using a prosthesis can be very painful to begin with which improves over time however, wearing a prosthesis may always cause some pain. High levels of pain, sudden pain or the skin being hot to touch or sore must be addressed by your doctor.
  • Using a prosthetic leg will change the way you move so you will need to be ready to accept those changes.
A group of amputee peer support volunteers in The Gambia using a variety of mobility devices

Are there any other options?

There are other ways for you to move around if a prosthetic leg isn’t for you. You will be able to discuss all the possibilities with staff at your moblity centre.

Wheelchairs

  • Some people find that a wheelchair can make it easier to get around, if walking with a prosthesis is difficult. 
  • It can save energy, reduce the risk of falling and avoids risks to your skin breaking down due to a poorly fitting prosthesis. 
  • You may need to make changes in your house so that you can carry out your daily activities in a wheelchair.
  • It also can be difficult to propel over uneven ground so you may need someone to help you with this. 
Adaptive sports such as wheelchair basketball can be a great way to keep your mind and body healthy.

Crutches

  • Hopping with crutches without wearing a prosthesis enables you to stand upright and get around, without the effort of putting on a prosthesis. 
  • Some people find it quicker to get around as they can weight bear heavily through their crutches.
  • Not being able to put any weight through the side of your amputation can lead to pain in your back and ankle, knee or hip on your sound side when you use crutches regularly. It can also put a lot of strain through your arms and shoulders. 
  • In the long term, using crutches can cause damage to these joints and lead to arthritis. 

Underarm crutches

Forearm crutches are preferable to underarm crutches as underarm crutches can damage the nerves under your arm.

Forearm crutches

Forearm crutches can be used for many types of activity. Speak to staff at your mobility centre to make sure that they are correctly fitted and that you know how to use them safely.

Other assistive equipment:

  • A walking stick
  • A waterproof seat or stool for the shower
  • Modifications to your car

You may need to use a combination of devices as you learn to use new ones or for different tasks. The equipment is there to make day-to-day activities easier for you; sometimes this might be using no equipment at all.