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What does it mean to be a Partial Foot amputee?

Part of your foot has been amputated. This can either be a toe or toes, a toe and the accompanying metatarsal or even an amputation straight across the middle of your foot. More energy will now be required to mobilise as the strong lever your forefoot usually provides is now compromised or absent entirely. A simple toe filler may be required with a combination of total contact insole to reduce shear forces to your foot as well as carbon fibre sole plate to help with the absence of your natural toe lever. The carbon fibre foot plate assists with energy return in toe off as well as absorbs energy when you are slowing your walking speed. 

The need for a partial foot amputation may be as result of one of the following conditions:

  • Peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation)
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Foot ulcers
  • Trauma causing the lower leg to be crushed or severed
  • Tumours

What is a partial foot amputation in medical terms?

A partial foot amputation is a surgical procedure performed to remove part of your foot when it has been severely damaged or is diseased. Most partial foot amputations are performed due to peripheral vascular disease (a complication of diabetes), or severe circulatory diseases in the lower limb. Poor circulation limits healing and immune responses to injury. Ulcers on the foot may develop, which may not heal and  become infected. As a result, the infection may spread to the bone and become severe enough to be life-threatening.  

The amputation is then performed to remove the diseased tissue and prevent further spread of infection.  Amputations may also occur because of crush injuries where the limb is partially or completely severed. An amputation may also be performed to remove a severely deformed or non-functional part of the foot that is limiting the individual’s function.  

When a partial foot amputation is necessary, it is usually performed by a vascular or orthopaedic surgeon. The diseased or severely injured part of the limb will be removed, keeping as much of the healthy tissue and bone as possible. 

BoydsPirogoff, Lisfranc or Choparts amputation are all partial foot amputations which are all at slightly different levels. 

An ankle disarticulation, also known as a Symes amputation, is when the foot is removed, the heel bone and heel pad are repositioned to allow the amputee to take weight on the bottom of the stump.  

Partial Foot Amputation and Mobility

While an amputation is never ideal, there are some positives when it comes to a partial foot amputee: 

  • You can walk around without the need to put on a prosthesis as you can still bear weight through your foot 
  • With the aid of a good fitting energy storing partial foot prosthesis most activities can be performed as they were before. 

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