‘It’s more than just a running leg’: a qualitative study of running-specific prosthesis use by children and youth with lower limb absence Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose

    The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of running-specific prostheses (RSPs) by children with lower limb absence (LLA) along with the benefits and challenges of RSPs.

    Materials and methods

    In this descriptive qualitative study, eight children (ages 8-20 years) and their parents participated in semi-structured interviews. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Coded data were the foundation for central theme development.


    Three main themes were generated. "Run faster, jump higher, do more" (the benefits of RSP use), "Every leg serves its purpose" (comparing functionality between daily use prostheses and RSPs), and "A lot more to think about" (additional considerations with RSP use).


    RSPs have a positive impact in promoting children's engagement in sports and physical activities. While some children used their RSP primarily for running, others wore it for a broader range of physical activities. Issues with balance and discomfort caused by leg length discrepancies and/or ill-fitting sockets limited daily wear time. Limitations related to current RSP designs and clinical implementation should be addressed to optimize the functional potential of children with unilateral or bilateral LLA.Implications for rehabilitationRunning-specific prostheses (RSPs) positively impacted children's ability to participate in some sports with peers promoting their physical and social well-being.The main issues that children faced were discomfort, difficulty balancing, and inability to use RSPs for certain sports, while parents' issues focused on supporting prosthesis use and transport, and adjustments of different prostheses to keep up with their child's growth.Clinicians should be aware of the challenges of RSP use to best support children and their families.Designers should focus on addressing limitations with current RSPs to facilitate the diverse needs of pediatric users.


  • Hadj-Moussa, Firdous
  • Zahid, Hafsa B
  • Wright, Virginia
  • Kelland, Kerri
  • Andrysek, Jan

publication date

  • October 19, 2021