Clinical evaluation of fall risk in older adults who use lower-limb prostheses: A scoping review

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2023 Mar;71(3):959-967. doi: 10.1111/jgs.18223. Epub 2023 Jan 17.


Background: No reviews or evidence-based clinical protocols exist to evaluate fall risk in older adults who use lower-limb prostheses, despite falls being prevalent and costly in this population. This scoping review sought to determine assessments, defined as clinical outcome measures and gait parameters, associated with fall risk in this population to determine if a systematic review is warranted and help inform an evidence-based clinical protocol.

Methods: Google Scholar, PubMed, and Scopus were searched on April 19th, 2022 to include peer-reviewed original research. Included articles reported relationships between falls and clinical outcome measures or gait parameters in older adults who use transtibial or transfemoral prostheses. Clinical outcome measures included self-reported questionnaires and functional mobility tests. Gait parameters included spatiotemporal, kinematic, and kinetic data during walking and stair negotiation.

Results: Nineteen articles were included. Clinical outcome measure scores, gait parameter data, and cutoff scores by fall status (nonfallers, single fallers, recurrent fallers) were summarized. Six articles determined clinical outcome measures that had statistically significant associations with falls, and two articles determined gait parameters that had statistically significant associations with falls.

Conclusions: The majority of articles found no clinical outcome measure or gait parameter alone was effective at identifying fall risks in this population. Future research should evaluate a combination of assessments and collect prospective fall data to move towards establishing an evidence-based protocol to evaluate fall risk in older adults using lower-limb prostheses.

Keywords: amputee; balance; limb loss; mobility; prosthesis.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Postural Balance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Walking