Prosthetic legs are artificial limbs that are used in cases of amputation. Either one or both legs may be subjected to amputation for a variety of medical reasons. Amputations can be performed above or below the knee, depending on medical conditions. A variety of factors can make the use of a prosthetic leg easier. Typically, people who are younger and do not have weight problems are better able to adapt to their prosthetic legs. Stamina, bone structure and motivation are also factors. Not everyone who has a leg amputation wants to wear a prosthetic leg, and not everyone with two leg amputations wants prosthetic leg replacements. There are, however, advantages to using prosthetic legs.
The Atlas of Limb Prosthetics: Surgical, Prosthetic, and Rehabilitation Principles conducted a study to compare the energy expended when walking with a single prosthetic leg and walking with crutches. The use of crutches with double amputees was not studied. When the prosthetic legs are well fitted and the patients have satisfactory gaits, patients expend less energy walking with prosthetic legs than when walking without prosthetic legs and using crutches.
For people with two leg amputations, the choice is between prosthetic legs and a wheelchair. Some patients, even those with single amputations, prefer the comfort of a wheelchair and choose to forgo prosthetic legs. But prosthetic legs allow amputees the option of going up stairs. Also, there are areas that are not accessible by wheelchairs, although there has been an increased awareness of making areas available to the handicapped. Prosthetic legs provides a greater sense of independence.
People can gain a better psychological outlook on life by mastering the use of prosthetic legs, whether they have one or two prosthetic legs. According to the Amputee Coalition of America, amputees feel less discomfort with their conditions when wearing prosthetic legs because of the ability to blend in better with the crowd. Also, people who do not have the opportunity to wear prosthetic legs feel cheated and can become bitter and frustrated.