Rehab Cell

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

AmputeeOT: Up close and personal with matured residual limb

AmputeeOT: Up close and personal with matured residual limb


Hi, everybody! This is Christina, the Amputee OT. In today’s video, I will be showing you what a mature residual limb looks like. I’ve made a couple of other videos showing what my residual limb looks like. One at two weeks, and one at two and a half months. I’ll put those videos here in case you want to look at them, and also down the description box below. It’s been about nine months since my amputation. I would say my residual limb is pretty much matured and done healing. One thing I’ve noticed is that my residual limb has shrunk a lot from when it first got amputated. My leg started out so that my stump was bigger than my knee. It was huge and fat and giant, and now it’s really super small. My residual limb probably looks a little bit different from most people’s residual limbs, and that’s because I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. You’ll probably notice that my leg seems really floppy; and I’ve actually looked at a number of other people’s below knee amputations, and found that nobody has a leg quite like mine. If your leg doesn’t look like mine, don’t worry, it probably won’t. Here’s what my residual limb looks like compared to my other leg. You can see it’s definitely a lot smaller. You can see I can still move the muscles in my leg. I’m mirroring movements with my intact foot, so you can see what movements are being made. Here, you can see the difference in the muscle tone between my intact leg and my residual limb. You can see this one is a lot thicker and meatier; and this one is super thin by comparison. This is what I mean by my leg being really floppy. Here you can see where the scar is completely healed. This might be a little hard to see, but here is where the end of my tibia is cut; and here is where the end of my fibula is cut. And see, they cut them at two different lengths– and that is so it’s easier to fit your leg to a prosthetic. If this one was cut the same length as this one, it would cause a bony protuberance, which would cause problems with prosthetic fit. And surgeons doing amputation–they cut the back flap of skin longer than the front flap of skin; and then they fold it up like this. So now the back of my leg effectively has become the front of my leg. And actually, if I close my eyes and somebody runs their hand up and down my scar line –like this– it feels like somebody’s touching the front of my leg and then suddenly touching the back of my leg. It’s a really weird sensation. But it only works if somebody else is doing it, and my eyes are closed. Sitting with my leg curled up under me like this is pretty comfortable. You can also see where my tibia has become pretty prominent. It’s pretty easy to see here. All muscles in your leg tend to atrophy when you get an amputation, because you’re not using them to move your foot anymore; and so your leg becomes a lot more bony. So I can feel my tibia very clearly here. And I can feel my fibula. and my fibular head, and my tibial crest, and all the anatomical structures of my leg. You can definitely see how it’s shaped more like a teardrop now. Before it was kind of round — I used to be able to fit inside this thing. Now I can practically put another leg in there! Now, the reason I’m showing all these up-close images of my residual limb is because I want to take some of the mystery and mystique out of stumps and residual limbs. I think that amputation is a very scary thing; and when people don’t know what to expect, they’re scared-–because they’re kind of going into uncharted territory. And so, if I can demystify some of the process of becoming an amputee and some of the process of living your day-to-day life as an amputee, then hopefully I can help some people who otherwise would have been really uncomfortable to be a little bit more comfortable with the situation. Still got some dog ears going on over here. Here’s what my leg looks like from the back. From this view, you can see the cut end of my fibula pretty well– it ends right here. So this is the head of the fibula here, and this is the cut end of the fibula right here. And the tibia goes from here to here, so it’s a little bit longer. And you probably can’t see this at all, but if I grab the cut end of my fibula, I can actually move it within my leg. I can feel it kind of doing this sort of thing. Okay, everybody that’s all for now! If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comment section below; you can subscribe if you like –I put out new videos every Wednesday; and… See you later! Bye! Buh-bye! Bye!

5 thoughts on “AmputeeOT: Up close and personal with matured residual limb

  1. Me das miedo, Christine.Aparentemente simpatica pero puedes ser muy peligrosa.Ademas tienes como mascota un perro de los peligrosos en contraste con mi perra realmente inofensiva.Me gustaria estar equivocado pero creo que no lo estoy.No eres fea pero tampoco bella aunque las gafas te dan un cierto atractivo.

  2. That floppiness looks like it would be unnerving and uncomfortable. And what do your bones do? How do they stay near each other and not move apart?

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