Dougal MacBurnie was seriously injured in a motorcycle collision in 2017 which resulted in complex fractures to his left lower limb. At the time of his injuries, he was running his own gardening business full time which was going well. A keen golf player he also spent his spare time undertaking DIY activities, riding his motorcycle and taking long walks in the countryside with wife and dogs.
Post injury experience
After the collision, a period of limb re-construction followed in an attempt to stabilise and allow for as much function as possible from the left leg. The NHS provided orthotic support in the form of a shoe raise and an ankle foot orthosis (AFO).
Despite this, Dougal continued to experience significant pain in his lower limb and his walking was severely restricted. It was extremely frustrating to continually require rest and elevation to ease this.
Introducing Dorset Orthopaedic…and a long-term strategy
Dougal was recommended to speak to our clinic in Amersham, Buckinghamshire in 2019 by his case manager and solicitor to tentatively discuss the options surrounding more intensive support and whether amputation would offer him improved function and mobility. Upon his arrival he met with one of our experienced Prosthetists, Orthotists, Psychologists and Physiotherapists.
Building up strength through a combination of improved orthotics and tailored physiotherapy is a fundamental part of the rehabilitation process for someone who is considering an amputation in order to optimise their clinical outcomes post-procedure. Mental preparation is also key for anybody considering and elective amputation. Our Psychologist was able to equip Dougal with the psychological tools and strategies required ahead of his transition to becoming an amputee.
Modern orthotic technology
We arranged for Dougal to trial a new type of orthotic device which was originally developed (and used successfully) by active, fit and injured military personnel in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Three months of usage and a specifically tailored physiotherapy programme enabled Dougal to positively work towards building strength, improvements to function, mobility and reduce the pain he had been feeling. The added provision of an electric bike (where he rode at least 20 miles a day, four times per week) amplified the progress of his rehabilitation.
At the conclusion of the trial, Dougal improved his walking but was not as active as he wished. However, he was physically and mentally ready to take the next step of amputation, safe in the knowledge that the journey he’d been on with Dorset Orthopaedic equipped him with the physical and mental ‘tools’ to get a positive, active outcome.
Ready for amputation
When Dougal reached the decision to undergo an amputation, we tailored the physiotherapy programme to prepare his body for the below knee amputation in 2020. Occupational therapy was also provided during this important time.
Dougal now has a prosthesis intended for day-to-day activities – and a specialist water activity prosthesis.
Finished versions of both prostheses were provided in June 2021.
Dougal is now also currently working through a clinical trial with advanced designs of microprocessor-controlled feet and ankle systems.
We are working closely with Dougal to study the advantages of two different designs also his current day-to-day prosthesis. A detailed post trial report will then follow allowing his trusted legal team to understand where functional benefits were shown which may assist them in considering long term prosthetic recommendations.
He is now much more active, walking regularly, attending the gym and he has returned to playing golf. He is pleased with the dramatic improvement in his quality of life.
Scott Richardson of Dorset Orthopaedic says:
“Dougal has made tremendous progress physically and psychologically since we’ve met him and is continuing to work on his post amputation rehabilitation. Having a positive approach to working with orthotics and exploring all avenues ahead of amputation enabled him to build up the strength and conditioning to get positive clinical outcomes following the procedure. We continue to work with Dougal and we are very pleased with the progress he continues to make.”