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Amputation

4-year-old losing her big toe

12/17/2008

Question:

Will my little girl be able to live a normal life with out her big toe no limitation?

Answer:

The "big toe" obviously has a function--specifically, more forceful push-off while walking briskly, running, or pushing a heavy load--so being without it can impact some aspects of function.

Your daughter's ultimate expected level of function will depend on whether she has any other medical conditions, as well as whether she maintains physical fitness and body weight as she gets older. She should certainly be able to walk without a prosthesis (including barefoot), and also run to some extent. But typically following loss of the big toe, a shoe insert (carbon fiber insole with toe filler) and/or shoe modification (spring steel shank to stiffen the sole, and/or a rocker bottom to aid roll-over) is/are helpful to maximize ambulatory ability.

Further recommendations specific to your daughter's needs would best be sought from her physician(s), and perhaps also a prosthetist who has experience working with pediatric patients.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University