Motivations and barriers to prosthesis users participation in physical activity, exercise and sport: a review of the literature

Sarah Deans, David Burns, Anthony McGarry, Kevin Murray, Nanette Mutrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
436 Downloads (Pure)


The UK will host the Paralympics in 2012 and the Commonwealth Games in 2014 showcasing the talents of elite athletes and aiming to inspire the population to become involved. However, low levels of physical activity (PA) are prevalent: only 40% of men and 28% of women meet the minimum UK recommendations. The limb absent population is no exception.
To determine if people with limb amputations are participating in physical activity and sport; whether post-amputation activity levels match pre-amputation levels; and if there are motivations and barriers to participation.
Study design: Literature review
Five reviewers systematically search of peer reviewed and gray literature in seven bibliographic databases and the Cochrane Library.
Results: Following rigorous elimination, 12 articles were finally included in the review and critically appraised. Four themes were identified: components, rehabilitation outcomes, body image and motivations and barriers to participation.
People with limb absence are not participating in PA conducive to health benefits, and only a minority participate in exercise and sports. Participation following amputation does not mirror that of pre-amputation levels, and more barriers than motivations exist to adopting and maintaining a physically active lifestyle.
This literature review aims to inform those involved in rehabilitation and ongoing care of those with limb absence about what motivates or precludes their participation in physical activity, exercise and sport. Such knowledge could be applied to improving health and well being in this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260- 269
Number of pages10
JournalProsthetics and Orthotics International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
EventNCPO Sporting Prosthetics Conference - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Nov 201111 Nov 2011


  • health psychology
  • prosthetics
  • rehabilitation of prostheses users
  • rehabilitation psychology


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