Physical activity perceptions of prosthesis users: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Kirsty Watters, Sarah Deans

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


BackgroundPhysical activity is good for you and any activity is better than none. A quarter of people with life-long limiting conditions, including lower limb absence, meet physical activity recommendations. We wished to understand why participation is low through an exploration of prosthesis users’ experiences.AimTo uncover the motivations and barriers people with lower limb absence encounter when contemplating or participating in physical activity. Could positive health interventions be developed to support an increase in physical activity levels? We aim to inform those caring for people with limb absence about patients’ lived experiences of contemplating or participating in physical activity for health.MethodThe study design was a qualitative, small scale social survey one featuring a focus group conducted in early 2014. Eight men living with unilateral trans-tibial amputation participated in a focus group with semi-structured questions posed to them. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.ResultsThree master themes presented; personal; social; and technical. Key motivations were health and well-being maintenance; feelings of normality; and mood improvement. Key barriers included isolation; psychological such as fear; and environmental factors such as weather and uneven terrain.Discussion & ConclusionMore barriers to physical activity participation exist than motivations suggesting a role for physical activity promotion. Delivery of physical activity promotion by prosthetists over the lifelong course of prosthetic rehabilitation could facilitate and reinforce long-term positive behaviour change and health benefits. Positive lifestyle interventions could be designed and implemented as part of routine prosthetic rehabilitation, thereby contributing to general health and well-being improvements in those with limb absence.References Bragaru M, van Wilgen CP, Geertzen JHB, Ruijs SGJB, Dijkstra PU, Dekker R. Barriers and facilitators of participation in sports: a qualitative study on Dutch individuals with lower limb amputation. PLOS One 2013;8(3):1.Deans S, Burns D, McGarry A, Murray K, Mutrie N. Motivations and barriers to prosthesis users participation in physical activity, exercise and sport: a review of the literature. Prosthet Orthot Int 2012;15;36(3):260-9.Kirk A, MacMillan F, Webster N. Application of the transtheoretical model to physical activity in older adults with Type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease. Psych Sports Exer 2010;11(4):320-324.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 2015
EventInternational Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics World Congress 2015 - Lyon, France
Duration: 22 Jun 201526 Jun 2015


ConferenceInternational Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics World Congress 2015


  • IPA
  • physical activity
  • amputees
  • prosthesis


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