How to adjust energy expenditure for above knee amputee

I am a 63 year old female, unilateral, transfemoral amputee (1 leg, above the knee). In order to walk with the aid of a prosthesis, I expend more energy than someone my age, size and weight (130 lbs). Some studies have estimated 7.2 +/- 1 MJ/d, or oxygen uptake as 24% higher than normal. All of the outputs for energy expenditure here and other places assume that I have two legs, so I don't get "credit" for dragging around a 15 lb prosthesis all day long. How do I get around this? Is there a calculation that can determine the calories expended per day? Can I find an equivalent "exercise" that I can add to each day to make up the difference?

(I posed this same question in a thread from November - figured I should ask as a new discussion, too)


  • Hi @katmando

    One way to account for the extra 7.2 MJ/ day is to enter a custom value in the activity settings. In the Profile tab, under Body Details, beside Activity select Custom from the options, then enter in your custom value in the box (units are kcal). This will reflect the extra energy you are burning each day in your diary.

    I am not familiar with the literature - maybe there are some other users out there that have experience with energy expenditure calculations for amputees?


    Karen Stark
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  • Thanks Karen! I'll try this.

  • @katmando

    This is a very tricky estimation. If it's available to you, you may wish to having your resting energy expenditure measured. Many sports clinics, hospitals, and universities have this information available. This would be the most accurate way to determine this information as it measures actual oxygen consumption and CO2 output.

    I'd also suggest careful monitoring of your weight. It will be your best indicator of calorie needs.

    Best of luck!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

  • Thank you, Susan. I work at a University Medical Center so I will look into it. You are correct in that I have to carefully monitor my weight, something I've had to do all of my life. There is very little allowance for prosthetic fit with weight loss or gain. At $65,000 for a prosthetic, it's not something you want to grow or shrink out of. I have always had to keep my weight within 5-7 lbs of my target.

    For now, I'm experimenting with some of the activity level settings. Thanks again! I appreciate your input.


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