Driving with a Prosthetic Leg

Is It Possible?

Many people wonder if it’s possible, driving with a prosthetic leg after undergoing an amputation. Limb loss (amputation) affects the ability to control a vehicle. Depending on upper or lower limb amputation, it can affect usage of the steering wheel, controls or pedals, or even your stability in the vehicle. You must be assessed for the level of impact, which will determine the conditions on your license, any vehicle modifications, or additional training with a rehabilitation driving instructor to enable you to drive. Below is some general information to get you started on the journey to get back on the road.

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Can you Drive with a Prosthetic Leg?

Steps to Take:

It is a legal requirement that you notify the transport authority in your state or territory of any change in medical condition or surgery that affects your driving, including an amputation where you find yourself driving with a prosthetic leg.

The driver licensing authority in each state and territory has slight variations in its policies and standards. The standards apply to private, commercial, light, and heavy vehicles and motorbikes and you may need to complete multiple driving tests.

To be able to drive a vehicle you must complete a variation of the following steps based on your state/territory, see these below.

Make an appointment with your doctor/GP

  • They will need to provide a complete medical record.
  • Fill in any forms from your state/territory authority.
  • You may need additional medical reports from specialists.

Complete off-road assessment

  • Including asking you about your driving and medical history, testing your knowledge of the road rules, and assessing visual, sensory, and thinking abilities.

Complete occupational therapy driving assessment

  • Health professionals such as an accredited occupational therapist assess a patient’s medical fitness to drive to advise the driver licensing authorities about how the patient’s health and medical conditions might affect their driving ability.

(AFTD Guidelines have basic standards for each states process).

User Ability & Car Modifications

Depending on the user’s ability, you can drive a car with the original pedals if you have had a lower limb amputation.

  • You will need to learn how to manoeuvre your limb differently and this may also be dependent on the sensation in your limb for feedback.
  • As you can no longer move your ankle joint you will rely on feedback from your residual limb and proprioception (the feeling of where your limb is in space).

Features of your prosthesis are also important:

  • You should speak to your prosthetist about wanting to drive as they may need to consider this in the componentry used for the prescription of your prosthetic limb.
  • Adaptive equipment can also be installed in many vehicles.
  • Hand-operated brake and accelerator, automatic transmission and height-adjustable seats, etc.
  • Modifications enable many drivers with impairments to operate vehicles safely.
  • Power steering makes driving much easier for upper limb amputees.

License Conditions When Driving with a Prosthetic Leg

You may have a license condition that states you must wear your assistive device, only drive a specific vehicle or you can only drive an automatic vehicle.

Please contact your local state or territory for further information, alternatively, you can contact your state’s amputee association for guidance.

With the joint effort of:

Darrel Sparke, President of Amputees NSW.

APC would like to thank Darrel Sparke, for collaboration in writing this resource article.

Content created and adapted from:

Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetes and How it can Affect the Foot

Diabetes is a serious complex condition that can affect the entire body, more specifically we cover diabetic foot care and how it can affect you. Diabetes requires daily self-care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy. Your feet are at risk because diabetes can cause damage to the nerves in your feet, blood circulation, and infection. Having diabetes can increase your risk of foot ulcers and amputations. This damage is more likely if:

  • You have had diabetes for a long time
  • Your blood glucose levels have been too high for an extended period
  • You smoke – smoking causes a reduced blood flow to your feet, wounds heal slowly
  • You are inactive.

If your diabetic foot develops a wound this is known as an ulcer. If a diabetic foot ulcer is left untreated it can lead to an infection known as osteomyelitis inside the body/bone. Early and accurate diagnosis is necessary to ensure effective treatment and to reduce the likelihood of amputation. Improper diabetic foot care can increase the likelihood of amputation and is 15 times more common to occur in people with diabetes.

Diabetic Foot Care & What to Look out for

  • When you have diabetes, you need to take care of your feet every day
  • Daily care can prevent serious complications
  • Check your feet daily for changes or problems
  • Visit a podiatrist annually for a check-up or more frequently if your feet are at high risk

If you see any of the following- get medical treatment that *day*

  • Ulcer
  • Unusual swelling
  • Redness
  • Blisters
  • Ingrown nail
  • Bruising or cuts

If you see any of the following- get medical treatment within 7 days

  • Broken skin between toes
  • Callus
  • Corn
  • Foot shape changes
  • Cracked skin
  • Nail colour changes

Prosthetic Options

If you have had a partial foot amputation you can have a prosthesis custom made to suit your needs. This can also be called a ‘toe filler’ or bootie. The prosthetic device restores the anatomical shape of the foot and can be designed to reduce pressure and restore balance. Speak to your prosthetist about options best suited to you.

diabetes prosthetic foot option










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Support for Amputees

What support is available to amputees?

Whether its practical advice for new amputees, finding an amputee support group to connect with, or navigating the funding system, access to quality services and support networks is paramount for amputees. You can find a list below of amputee associations and amputee support groups that provide relevant information for new amputees and ongoing support throughout your life as an amputee. Here you can find prosthetic advice, peer support, health resources, funding information, prosthetic service information and more!

Amputee Support Groups/Associations

  • Amputees NSW – A non-for-profit amputee association, recognised by NSW Health, that provides a comprehensive range of support services for all people affected by amputation and limb differences. Amputees NSW provides support for individuals, families, schools, allied health professionals, government agencies, interstate support groups and the broader community.
  • Limbs4Life – The peak body for amputees in Australia with the vision of providing information and support to amputees and their families, while promoting an inclusive community so that no person is going through limb loss alone.
  • Limbs4Kids – A national program that supports parents of children born with limb deficiencies and children or adolescents who undergo an amputation early in life.
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – The NDIS is an independent Australian Government statutory body that funds costs associated with disability and providing the necessary ongoing support for Australians who acquire a permanent disability before the age of 65.
  • EnableNSW – A state-wide service of HealthShareNSW that provides assistive technology and related services to people in NSW with specific, short term or ongoing health needs to assist them to live safely at home.

APC Prosthetics is a certified registered NDIS provider.

For more information regarding Prosthetics please head to our resources section found here.

Multidisciplinary Care – Working with your Healthcare Team

Allied health multidisciplinary teams are important to ensure that you are provided with a holistic treatment plan. APC are proud to participate and present training days and seminars to educate our allied health peers.


If you are an amputee, you will have likely received physiotherapy during the rehabilitation stages as a part of your hospital stay. However, physiotherapy should not be seen as a service only accessed in the early years. It is important as an amputee or someone with limb difference to maintain good muscle strength, flexibility, and stability. This will ensure that your ability to use your prosthesis continues well into your later years. Working regularly with a physio throughout your life as a prosthetic user can act as a reminder to engage the muscles you may not be using as much as you should be, or to help you kick some bad gait habits you may have developed.

Physiotherapy is currently available onsite at APC ‘s Alexandria and Northmead offices to assist amputees in varying stages of their prosthetic usage:

  • Gait re-education from initial fitting of the first prosthesis through to advanced functioning (e.g., return to recreational activities, running, gym programs).
  • Upgrading/teaching the use of a new prosthetic prescription.
  • A program for the use of micro-processor knee joints.

Physiotherapy at APC Prosthetics is provided by Cathy Howells, a registered physiotherapist with a special interest in amputee rehabilitation and over 30 years’ experience working exclusively with amputees. All our sites can help put you in touch with physiotherapists in your area who have experience working with prosthetic limb users.

Exercise Physiology

Exercise Physiologists (EPs) sometimes get mixed up with physiotherapists. Where physios often manipulate the tissue, using an active hands-on method with massage along with prescribing targeted movements to improve a problem area, EPs offer ‘hands-off’ programs. Exercise physiologists are great for amputees and prosthetic users for prevention, ongoing targeted training, or if you have a sport or recreational activity you would like to learn to get back to or start doing since being an amputee. EPs develop person-centred exercise interventions that can be targeted for pain management, disability, chronic conditions, and injury. Feedback from our clients who use the services of EPs report that they move and walk better than they ever have before. Some have said that through the exercise interventions prescribed by their EP, they need to use less energy to walk and that has meant that it is easier to use their prosthesis and access the community (AKA live their life!).

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists (OTs) can help you learn how to use your prosthesis (especially Upper Limb) for specific tasks and training, along with recommending any modifications that need to be made to your home or car.

You may need a consultation with a trained OT in the process of getting your license for the first time after amputation.

OTs are essential in the process of applying for funding for upper extremity (UX) prosthetics. An OT will need to be present in your NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment alongside your prosthetist. They will aid in performing and interpreting clinical outcome measures (COMs) which are functional tests demonstrating levels of ability and need.

Medical Services

The team at APC Prosthetics work closely with your rehabilitation specialist to ensure you receive the best treatment outcomes based on your health, healing and any other medical conditions that may affect your prosthetic use. Due to the long history of APC attending many amputee clinics for over 20 years, we have solid communication and a multidisciplinary team approach that leads to the quality service you will receive. We regularly consult with your other specialists as needed, for example, dermatologists, who can assist you with any skin conditions or concerns. If you see a new specialist or receive a new medication, it is a good idea to inform your Prosthetist as treatments may affect the fit or outcome of your prosthesis.

Funding for Allied Health Support Services

How you access a physiotherapist and other allied health services depends on your funding.

    • A referral from your GP will be required, you can get 5 free PT visits per year if you are on a care plan. We can assist by writing a referral to back up your need for this support service.
  • NDIS:
    • Talk to your planner at your next plan review to ensure there is sufficient funding available for the number of visits you require for the length of plan. Your prosthetic AT Assessment and request will advocate for any additional services deemed necessary for you to succeed with your prosthesis and goals.
  • INSURANCE: This will be negotiated with your case manager.
  • PRIVATE: There is always the option to go directly to a PT etc if covered by private health insurance or by paying directly. Your prosthetist can write a letter of referral/handover to communicate with your chosen provider in order to best help you succeed.

Mental Health Support Services

Losing a limb can be a very emotional experience for you and those in your support group including friends or family. It is important you and those around you speak about how you are feeling with the appropriate support groups and services. Speak to your GP about how you can access the right mental health support for you.

There are also support services available through state and national amputee support groups.

Other Support Services:

Your prosthetist can help put you in touch with peer support groups that are run both on a state and national level. You will also find brochures in every APC branch or you can read our resource on Amputee/Limb Difference support groups here.

Support Services:

    • Limbs4Life is a charity that provides peer support options, amputee resources and wellbeing information. They also provide independent support to help you navigate disability and health-care system. They also offer social events and activities for amputees of all ages.
    • Amputees NSW is a volunteer based community organisation that provides support to anyone affected by limb difference. They aim to improve access to quality programmes, and news of upcoming events.

New Amputees

New Amputees Treatment

The amputation of a limb is a life changing experience, and the requirements of each client are different and will change throughout their life. Whether you or a loved one has undergone a lower limb (leg) amputation or an upper limb (arm) amputation and are new amputees, we are here to support you and help you reach your goals.

APC Prosthetics has a strong support system to assist clients in challenging situations and you can be sure that you or your loved one is in good hands with APC. Our philosophy is to work with new amputees to comprehensively assess their needs, establish their requirements and then deliver the most appropriate solutions.

All of our clients’ needs are unique, so our experienced prosthetists work closely with multidisciplinary health professionals to establish a customised treatment solution. The team includes Medical Specialists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and other health professionals. You can read more information about allied health support services here.

Prosthetic Treatment Pathway – What happens after a leg amputation?

If you have had a transtibial amputation (below knee) you will typically have been fit with some form of compressive & protective device, known as a removable rigid dressing (RRD) immediately after surgery. This hard, plaster cast acts as a crash helmet for your residual limb (or stump), helps with healing and controlling swelling. Depending on the hospital you are in, you may meet your prosthetist at this stage, but typically our first meeting with you comes in the lead up to making your first limb. In the weeks leading to casting, if you are either a below knee amputee or above knee amputee, we will fit you with a stump shrinker (a compressive stocking) to help you get some of the fluid and swelling dissipated. This aids in forming an appropriate shape of your residual limb ready for wearing a prosthetic socket.

Initial Prosthetic Treatment – Interim Prosthesis

The first phase of the prosthetic rehabilitation for new amputees is the provision of an interim prosthesis. This generally occurs approximately 6 weeks after leg amputation when the suture wounds have sufficiently healed. The aims of the interim prosthesis are to establish early mobility and commence gait re-education as early as possible. But how does it get paid for? Don’t worry, in Australia you don’t have to pay for your prosthetic management out of pocket.

FUNDING: All new amputees in NSW regardless of age, except for those covered by insurance claims, have their first prosthesis for rehabilitation funded through Enable (the state-based funder for interim prosthetic limbs and those over 65). After a comprehensive assessment with your prosthetist and the rehabilitation team, the rehabilitation specialist issues a prescription to ENABLE for the interim prosthesis. If your funding is through Insurance, then your prosthetist will send the funding request through to your case manager.

Once we have approval, the prosthetist will then take a plaster cast of the residual limb, which is called a plaster negative. The plaster negative is then used to make a replica of the residual limb, which is modified to achieve a comfortable socket. The socket is then moulded over the plaster model. You can read more about how the prosthesis is made here.

prosthetic legs plaster mould for leg

Various liner materials are used to act as a cushion between the socket and the residual limb, absorbing and dissipating shock, shear and torque forces that occur during walking and standing on the prosthesis.

Next, the prosthetic components such as the prosthetic foot or prosthetic knee are connected to the socket and the client then returns for their first prosthetic fitting. During this process one of our highly skilled prosthetists assesses the socket-fit and analyses gait to determine optimal alignment. The correct alignment of the prosthesis is essential to ensure maximum comfort and function.

You can expect regular modification to this first prosthesis, as the residual limb undergoes significant changes in shape and volume during the first months. It’s important to continue to work with your physio team for ongoing gait training, muscle strengthening and stretching for optimal outcomes. After approximately 3 to 4 months or when the limb has stabilised, the prosthetic interim socket will be replaced with the first definitive socket .

Prosthetic interim socket

Ongoing Prosthetic Management – Definitive Prosthesis:

FUNDING : For your first definitive prosthesis, the prescription process is repeated (there are some different steps dependent on your funder). If you are deemed to have completed rehabilitation, are under 65, and not covered by insurance, you will need to apply to the NDIS to continue your prosthetic funding. This can be a lengthy process, requiring a lot of paperwork. Check out our resources on the NDIS and speak to your prosthetist as they will need to complete some of the application as your treatment provider. Your prosthetist will perform an Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment and send the request to fund your prosthetic prescription to the NDIS.

When funding is approved, the prosthetist will take a new cast of your residual limb and the manufacturing and optimising process begins again. This time there will first be a diagnostic or check socket. This prosthesis is trialled for several days-weeks. It’s important you trial the check socket in as many real-life scenarios as possible in order to give your prosthetist quality feedback on the suitability of the fit and function. After the successful completion of the trial period, the prosthesis is cosmetically finished, to deliver a pleasing aesthetic result. The materials used to manufacture the definitive socket include fibreglass, carbon fibre or specially designed plastics. Utilising the latest manufacturing technologies and high-tech materials ensures a durable and extremely light socket .

prosthetic leg client with prosthetic

As the shape and volume of the residual limb will change over time, it is very important that the client sees their prosthetist on a regular basis (every 3 to 6 months), to ensure the socket is still fitting properly, and for the maintenance of the componentry. Sometimes it is necessary for the prosthetist to make adjustments to the prosthesis to compensate for any changes. However, if the changes are too significant, a new socket (socket replacement) might be required.

You will probably require more frequent socket replacements in the earlier years of your life as a prosthetic user and these will reduce in frequency over time. The other main reason for requiring a socket replacement, or replacement of prosthetic componentry is wear and tear. Over the years, the components may degrade or rust or get scratched up from you returning to your everyday life and meeting your goals!

If you are about to undergo amputation or have recently, and have any questions, feel free to reach out to us! We have all the information needed for new amputees.


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Prosthetics for Kids

APC has been providing prosthetics for kids with limb difference and amputation for many years. We are involved in the Limb Deficiency Clinics at Westmead Children’s Hospital and Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick, where we work closely together with rehabilitation teams to ensure the best outcomes for the kids we see.

We see a wide range of kids and families from across NSW; from Sydney and surrounds, to more regional and rural parts of the state. APC is an ever-growing family, now with 4 branches and associated outreach clinics, so we reach far and wide across NSW.

Working with the paediatric population is so special because each child is incredibly unique and has their own unique needs and goals. Here at APC, we love working together with kids and their families to help them realise those goals, and help dreams become a reality through providing the most appropriate prosthetics for kids; be it an upper-limb prosthesis to assist in riding a bike, or a lower-limb prosthesis for running and sports, and everything in between!

At APC we understand that each child has their own individual presentations, needs, and wants, and love working together with kids and their families to achieve the best results for all.


Most children with limb difference are eligible for NDIS funding. If you’re not sure whether your child is eligible, speak with one of our prosthetists, or check out the eligibility criteria on the NDIS website.

We have been working closely with the NDIS since it was first rolled out in New South Wales, so we have an in-depth understanding of how to best help your child get the prosthetic services they need through the NDIS.

Funding for your Prosthesis

Depending on your individual circumstance, your prosthetic care will be funded by one of the following funding bodies:


EnableNSW – Prosthetic Limb Service provides funding for a basic prosthetic limb to all eligible amputees. Residents of NSW are eligible for admission to the PLS, provided they hold a valid Medicare Card. If you would like to find out more about the PLS please click on the following link:



The National Disability Insurance Scheme provides funding for eligible amputees under the age of 65 at the time of registration. Provided you have registered with the NDIS prior to being 65 you will continue to be funded. The team at APC Prosthetics have vast experience in navigating this scheme to ensure our client’s prosthetic care is optimised. See our guide here.

If you would like to find out more about the NDIS please click on the following link:


Insurance Clients

Patients with an insurance claim will be assessed comprehensively by a multidisciplinary team to determine the prosthetic management plan.

Once approval has been granted by your case manager, we will commence the prosthetics treatment immediately.

If you would like to find out more about this, please contact your case manager or alternatively, contact APC.

Private Clients                                                      

APC Prosthetics is Australia’s leading private prosthetic clinic and provides comprehensive services to private clients.

Private clients are free to determine what prosthetic technologies they wish to incorporate in their prostheses without restrictions. The specialists at APC are happy to provide consultations and advice without any demands or commitments to our clients.

Please feel free to contact APC if you wish to review your current and future treatment options.

Comfort, Function & Lifestyle – The APC Philosophy

At APC Prosthetics we are committed to providing our patients with the best possible outcome. We are focused on achieving maximum comfort and function to allow our patients the best possible lifestyle.

There are two essential factors to achieve comfort

  1. Socket design and fit
  2. How the forces are absorbed by the stump/socket interface

Socket design and fit revolve around correctly determining the shape of the prosthetics socket and successfully distributing forces created when you are walking or standing on your residual limb. The appropriate socket design and liner material is determined by a skilled Prosthetist to ensure optimum socket comfort.

The keys to achieve best possible function are a comfortable socket, selection of the right components and the correct alignment of your prosthesis.

The selection of the appropriate components is a very important factor to achieve a successful outcome. Because most components are designed for specific activities and specific lifestyles, a comprehensive patient assessment is necessary to determine the right components for each patient and enable them to lead the lifestyle they desire.

The correct alignment of the prosthesis is a vital element to successful function. It means determining the correct position of the socket and components relative to each other.

When all these factors work together in harmony, the result is optimum comfort, function and lifestyle.

Stump Socks – How To Care For Them

The two main reasons for wearing stump socks are:

  1. To protect the residual limb from excessive rubbing against the socket.
  2. To allow the prosthesis to fit better as your residual limb changes. You may find that you wear only one sock in the morning, but have to add a second one as the day progresses. In this case, the sock is used to fill the space between your residual limb and the socket.

Socks & Pelite liners

It is important to find the right combination of socks when using a prosthesis with a pelite liner. This combination can change both throughout the day, and over the life of your prosthesis. With a pelite liner, as you reduce in volume, you may find you need to fill the space between your residual limb and the liner, and/or between the liner and the hard socket to snug up the fit. If you have any queries on how to do this, you can ask your prosthetist.

Socks & Silicone liners

Unlike in traditional pelite liners, when using socks with silicone/gel liners, the sock is used outside the liner between the liner and the hard socket which maintains contact of the silicone/gel with your skin.

Pin liners: It is important to ensure the pin is completely through the hole located at the end of your sock so that the fabric doesn’t get caught in the lock body. If this happens, it can cause the lock to stick and you will have trouble doffing your prosthesis.

Seal-in liners: If your prosthesis uses a rubber sealing ring to create a vacuum suspension, talk to your prosthetist to ensure you understand volume management for your liner type. Some do not support the use of socks. If it does, make sure that the sock is neatly tucked under the sealing ring prior to donning your prosthesis.

If you find you have reduced in volume to an extent that you are slipping inside the liner itself, contact your prosthetist as you may need a new liner, or an alternate solution to be found.


Cleaning your stump socks

It is very important to keep your stump socks in a clean and hygienic state. It is important that any socks you wear are cleaned daily.

It is important that you look after your socks and make sure you have enough to wash and wear.

Not washing your socks properly can lead to build up of dirt and other nasties, which may cause skin irritations such as redness, rash, itchiness, bumps, pimples, etc.

Tip: Never wear your shrinker sock with your prosthesis. The shrinker is to be worn to provide compression when you are not wearing your prosthesis. Wearing the shrinker with the prosthesis can cause skin irritation and/or breakdown.

DO’s and DON’TS that will help you clean your prosthetic stump socks correctly


  • Do squeeze suds gently through the prosthetic socks and rinse with clear warm water.
  • Do use an approved wool detergent to wash your socks, preferable by hand.
  • Do roll the socks in a towel to blot out the extra water.
  • Do hang socks to dry.


  • Do not use hot water as this might cause your socks to shrink.
  • Do not twist and rub wet socks as this may cause the socks to loose their shape.
  • Do not wring the socks out.
  • Do not use a clothes dryer to dry the socks.

Tip: Be careful of wearing too many socks. If you experience blisters, localised swelling and or a purple tinge to the very end of your residual limb, often accompanied by the tissue consistency firming up over time, you may be packing yourself out of your socket. It’s important to maintain contact with the end of your limb and the socket to avoid this hyperplasia. If you are wearing more than two thick socks consistently, it’s a good idea to check in your prosthetist to assess socket fit.


Care for your Liner

Liner Care

If you have a prosthetic liner you should wash it on a daily basis. Never put your liner in a washing machine or clothes dryer, as it may damage or even destroy it. Ensure the soap/detergent you use is non-abrasive, mild and no fragrance. These substances and harsh detergents and chemicals can slowly eat away at the silicone or gel and reduce the life of your liner.


How to clean your liner

Step 1: Use a damp cloth with a mild detergent to wipe it out

Step 2: Dry it with a towel and leave it overnight to dry completely.

Step 3: Leave liner to dry the right way out (silicone/gel on the inside). This ensures no dust or other particles will stick to the inner surface. Note: Leaving the liner rolled up or inside out can warp the shape and damage the inner surface which can lead to skin abrasions and irritations.

Tip: Quick refresh! During a sweaty day you can do a quick refresh by only cleaning the inside of the liner and drying with a chamois or micro fibre towel. Not getting the fabric outer wet means you can get on with the rest of your day with a fresh liner.

Deep cleaning: You can completely submerge your liner in warm, soapy water to deep clean the outer layer of protective fabric as it is required.

Make sure to remove any grit, skin or fluff from the inside of your liner, as this can cause both skin irritation/rubs or reduce the effectiveness of the suspension of the liner.

It is important to rinse out the liner with clean water (no soap) to remove any soapy residue as this can cause skin irritation/contact dermatitis.

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