Personally I cannot begin to imagine my response to the thought, let alone having an amputation of a part of my body – part of me.
At Happy Feet Pedorthics we regularly see people who have had amputations. Some people have had the amputations due to workplace accidents, some due to complications from diabetes, and some due to vascular disease.
People have shared aspects of their emotional and psychological realities related to their amputation. At these times our place is to listen and seek to understand, to empathize and walk with the person on their journey.
The story of one is no more or less significant than the story of the next person. Each has their own journey. At Happy Feet Pedorthics we walk with.
At Happy Feet Pedorthics we see people who:
- Have had one or a couple of toes amputated and have their great or big toes remaining on both feet. The pedorthic application in this situation is often prefabricated (pre-fab) medical footwear with an accommodative orthoses
- Have had several toes removed including one or both great toes. The pedorthic application in these situations will require pre-fab footwear but often times in a split fit because one foot is significantly of a different dimension to the other. The accommodative orthoses in this case would have a toe filler, to fill in for the missing great toe/s. With the complexity of the amputation the pedorthist at Happy Feet would be considering rocker soles, possibly with a carbon fibre plate with the aim of reducing pain and improving the gait cycle for the person.
- Have had all their toes removed on one or both feet. The pedorthic recommendations here may be including discussions about pre-fab split fit and / or custom made shoes – also made to different foot lengths. Having lost a great toe, and / or all the toes on one foot, there often begins a level of consideration about the pressure on the plantar surface or bottom of the foot, the need for a split fit for the purpose of improved gait and balance, and shoe design to aid foot entry, and outsoles to improve the health outcomes.
People who we see at Happy Feet Pedorthics who have had amputations invariably have increased neuropathy, and / or phantom pain. All people with diabetes need to check their feet daily. People with neuropathy following amputation need to be particularly vigilant to avoid further risk of amputation. As pedorthists at Happy Feet we can assist people with phantom pain, to improve their balance and their gait and to accommodate their feet / pain as much as possible but the pain will not go away
Clare Nelson C Ped CM AU