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Patient Profiles

Below the Knee Amputee: Oksana Masters

Life Has Been Full of Challenges

For nine year old Oksana Masters, life has been full of challenges. Oksana, who was born in the Ukraine, had multiple defects of her extremities at birth. Her left leg had practically no tibia, which is the larger weight bearing bone between the knee and the ankle. She was born with six toes on both feet, and some of her toes were webbed. She had five fingers on both hands, but no thumbs, and her fingers were webbed.

Oksana came to the United States in February 1997, when she was adopted by a family in Buffalo. While living in the Ukraine, Oksana had as many as five to seven surgeries, including limb lengthening surgeries on her left leg. However, she still had a long way to go. When she arrived in Buffalo, her left leg was severely deformed. The leg was 3 inches shorter than her right leg, and her left foot was two shoe sizes smaller than the right foot. She was referred to Nelson Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory. Chris Van Dusen, CPO designed a hybrid prosthetic/orthotic device for her left leg, consisting of a thigh corset with joints, a prosthetic foot, and a type of saddle above the prosthetic foot, where Oksana placed her own foot. She wore this device for approximately one year.

As Oksana continued to grow, so did the discrepancies between her left leg and foot from the right side. Because of the severity of the deformities, her left leg was amputated at the knee (knee disarticulation) in May 1998. A few weeks after the amputation, Oksana was casted for a knee disarticulation prosthesis by Chris Van Dusen, CPO.

In addition to the amputation of the left leg, Oksana has also had to endure problems with her right leg as well. She has rotational problems at the knee, as well as knee and ankle instability. She has worn a Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (KAFO) fabricated by Chris Van Dusen, CPO for the past two years to alleviate the problems with the right leg.

Despite her physical challenges and all she has been through, Oksana is a typical nine year old girl. She does not let her medical problems or the fact that she is an amputee get in the way of having fun. Some of her favorite things to do include swimming, dancing, gymnastics and karate.

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