A Manual for Below-Knee Amputees


The objective of this manual is to make readily accessible to "below-knee" amputees, including persons who have had Syme's amputation, the information generally provided to them orally by members of the treatment team - the medical doctor, the physical therapist, the prosthetist, and others. Included, also is additional information that we hope will be interesting and useful to persons who have had an amputation through the ankle, or Syme's amputation.

An amputation, especially at any level below the knee does not usually present a particularly disabling condition. With modern prostheses and treatment methods, below-knee amputees who have no complicating medical problems can do most of the things he or she could do before amputation.

During the past few years the International Standards Organization has developed a standard method of describing amputations and prostheses that is being adapted worldwide. Of special importance here is the use of "trans-tibial" in place of "below-knee" to identify an amputation between the knee and ankle. This term has been adopted to avoid confusion with disarticulation at the ankle (Syme's amputation) and amputations through the foot.

In recent years, there has arisen an aversion to the use of the word "stump" in referring to that part of the limb that is left after amputation, and attempts have been made to find another term that could be used. This has proven to be a difficult, if not impossible, task because there is no synonym in the English language for "stump." The terms "residual limb" and simply "limb" which have been suggested are ambiguous at best, and since nothing better seems available, the word "stump" has been retained by the International Standards Organization and is used here to avoid confusion.

Many people have contributed to the development of this booklet. We are especially grateful to Ted Muilenburg, Jon Holmes, Ted Thranhardt, Richard Bailey, and Ron Spiers, each of whom reviewed the manuscript with care and made many helpful suggestions.

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Copyright 1996 - Alvin L. Muilenburg and A. Bennett Wilson, jr.

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