An articulated wood and leather prosthetic leg of a Slovenian soldier wounded in World War I (1917)
An articulated wood and leather prosthetic leg of a Slovenian soldier wounded in World War I (1917)

A pegleg is a prosthesis, or artificial limb, fitted to the remaining stump of a human leg. Its use dates to antiquity.[1]


By the late 19th century, prosthetics vendors would offer peglegs as cheaper alternatives to more intricate, lifelike artificial legs.[2] Even as vendors touted advantages of more complicated prostheses over simple peglegs,[2] according to a contemporary surgeon, many patients found a pegleg more comfortable for walking.[3] According to medical reports, some amputees were able to adjust to the use of a pegleg so well that they could walk 10, or even 30, miles in one day.[4]

Nowadays, wooden peglegs have been replaced by more modern materials, though some sports prostheses do have the same form.[5]

Notable pegleg wearers

Pegleg of Józef Sowiński
Pegleg of Józef Sowiński


  1. ^ Cantos, Mae (2005) "Pirates & Peg Legs: a Historical Look at Amputation and Prosthetics" In: Whitelaw, William A. (2005) (editor) Proceedings of the 14h Annual History of Medicine Days Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, pp. 16–20, OCLC 225558769, page 16
  2. ^ a b Marks, George Edwin (1888), A Treatise on Marks' patent artificial limbs with rubber hands and feet, A. A. Marks, p. 47
  3. ^ Tillmanns, Hermann (1895), Stimson, Lewis Atterbury (ed.), itle The principles of surgery and surgical pathology: general rules governing operations and the application of dressings, D. Appleton and company, p. 128
  4. ^ Teale, Thomas Pridgin (1858), On amputation by a long and a short rectangular flap, pp. 29, 31
  5. ^ Clarke, Carl D. (1965) Prosthetics Standard Arts Press, Butler, Maryland, OCLC 5083790, page 182
  6. ^ ""...he lost his leg at Saint Martin.."". Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 2012-02-20.

Further reading