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Case Study: Runner Chooses Amputation

Runner Chooses Amputation

Tom White Runner Chooses Amputation Denver ClinicTom White came to the amputation program at the Institute for Limb Preservation requesting a below knee amputation. He was interested in an Ertl procedure so he could return to long-distance running - a passion he shared with his family.

He had been injured in a motorcycle accident 20 years earlier. During the accident his leg was traumatically amputated and the trauma center that he was taken to was able to re-attach his leg. He recovered well after the surgery 20 years ago and was able to return to long-distance running.

When he presented to the physicians of the amputation program he explained that although he had been able to return to running, over the years it has become more difficult and more painful to continue running at the level and distances he would like. He was no longer able to run with his wife, or to complete longer distance runs. In addition, as the high school cross-country coach in the town he lived in, he found it difficult to run with the team members.

Tom White Initial X-ray
X-ray images showing staples in tibia from surgery to re-attach his leg after the motor cycle accident.

On x-ray exam, the bones of his foot were fused and his lower leg bone was angled outward. He had good motion of his knee and in very good health. It was decided he was a good candidate for the Ertl amputation.

Tom White X-ray ERTL
X-rays after the Ertl amputation. There is a "bridge" of  bone visible between the two bones of the lower leg.


He progressed very well after the amputation, steadily increasing his functional ability and rapidly moving to high demand prosthesis. At approximately one year after his amputation he completed the New York City marathon and has continued running long distances since then.

Read more about his story in Runner's World.