Hints for Leg Amputees

 Climbing Stairs and Walking Down Hill

When you have to climb stairs and get into buses etc., always remember to use your good foot first.  When you go downstairs or get off the bus, lead with your artificial foot.  On escalators, step on and off with your good foot.  When you are cycling, put your artificial foot on the pedal first and get off the bike with your sound foot.

Walking down a steep hill feels safer going step-by-step sideways, especially when you wear a basic Sach foot and your own foot is smaller than average. Below-knee amputees put the artificial leg down first and keep abnormal pressure off the tender distal end of the tibia by going sideways.

Before you decide to try step-over-step downstairs with feet facing forwards, be sure the grab rail is at your prosthetic side and your handbag or anything you are carrying is on your non-prosthetic side.

Reaching Goals

Set a small goal not only for a day but for a week so that you give yourself a chance to reach or maybe over-reach your limits.  In early days, you might feel safe only walking around the house but checking the mailbox extends your limit before tackling the street or stepping down and up a kerb.

Picking Up

Picking things up off the floor demands a different balancing strategy.  It isn’t always possible to bend your knees keeping a straight back, so take a wide step sideways and bend from the waist.


This applies mainly to males but can apply equally to females. You may find it easier to dress your artificial leg in underpants, trousers and shoe, before inserting your residual limb, then to dress your good leg. Some amputees have a zipper inserted in the inside seam of their trousers on their artificial leg – this makes dressing much easier. When you buy socks, buy two or three identical pairs. Put one sock on your artificial foot and leave it there all the time. If your artificial leg causes wear on your trousers, protect them with extra lining or a patch on the trouble spot

Solutions to a feminine problem - Women often find that an artificial leg tends to shine through pantyhose or that the foam cover is too pale. In winter, you can wear thick textured or ribbed pantyhose. A ‘knee high’ stocking on the artificial leg, worn under pantyhose and giving a double thickness, is also good. The underhose supplied with your prosthesis by the Artificial Limb Centre are long-wearing and quite a natural colour under pantyhose, the colour of which can be adjusted to reflect a tan.


A fun way to practice ‘normal’ walking is to push or kick a 7” diameter soft ball with your own leg while standing on your artificial leg beside a supporting chair.  Then walk to where it stopped, pick it up and walk back to the kicking off chair.  The aim, of course, is to kick it further each time and extend the practice walk.
When standing, you may feel it more comfortable to stand with your artificial foot slightly behind your sound foot.  This gives you a relaxed stability and, if you are an above-knee amputee, lets you take more than half of your body weight on the prosthesis.

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