Tlotitso is 3 years old, turning 4 in September. He was born with a under developed leg and his foot was turned around.
The Doctors and his parents first tried to correct this deformity and save his leg. After several operations, they realised that they had to amputate his under developed foot.
In March 2013, he was amputated just below the knee and, as his Dad said, Tlotitso’s first words were: “I am hungry”, and he never complained once after the amputation. He was fitted with prosthesis 5 weeks after the amputation and walked with it until end of last year. This was when they came to see me.
He is a wonderful child to work with, and like most kids, he has no fear. When working with kids, it is important to keep the prosthetic set-up as simple and as low budget as possible because kids should live a carefree life and not worry about the state of a prosthetic leg.
We went back to an older system and instead of using silicone liners for suspension; we “clipped” the prosthesis over the knee. This system is more difficult to manufacture as the measurements need to be accurate otherwise the prosthesis will just slip off, especially as kids ride bikes, climb trees and jump up and down.
While helping Tlotitso, I learned a lot about his parent’s culture. They hid the fact that their child had a disability from other people. Before this prosthesis, Tlotitso only wore long pants, not showing anything. We had a discussion with Tlotitso’s parents with regards to how we do things today, the possible funky designs that are available and how they should embrace their son’s disability. The parents gladly accepted the challenge, and the results were amazing. We used very bright colours and patterns; Tlotitso’s was thrilled.
Tlotitso loves playing outdoors and enjoys participating in numerous activities. He runs up and down his stairs 6 or 7 times a day.
We are all very proud of you Tlotitiso, and we can’t wait to see what you are going to achieve in the future! Well done!