What Happened to Oscar Pistorius Legs? Latest Health Update About His Condition

Find out What Happened to Oscar Pistorius Legs? – Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympic sprinter, In 2013, shot and killed Steenkamp his girlfriend in their home in Pretoria, South Africa. He claimed that he mistook her for an intruder.

He who was arrested, sentenced, and jailed for his partner’s murder and has now been released from jail after serving 11 years for murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Attribute Value
Full Name Oscar Pistorius
Nickname Blade Runner
Birth Date November 22, 1986
Birth Place Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality South African
Sports Track and field sprinting
Notable Achievements First amputee to compete in track events at the Olympics (2012)
First Paralympian to win a medal in open competition (2011)
Convictions Culpable homicide for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp (2013)
Current Status Released after serving 11 years prison sentence and will be on parole until December 2029. He will also be required to undergo therapy for gender-based violence.

Now his crime is not the focus of this article but rather his health. “Why did Oscar Pistorius lose his legs?” What happened to Oscar Pistorius’s Legs is a condition called Fibular Hemimelia, a rare birth defect that causes the absence of the fibula bone in both legs.

At the age of 11 months, his legs were amputated below the knee as a result of this condition, fibular hemimelia. Despite his disability, Pistorius excelled in sports, becoming a world-renowned sprinter and the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games. Let’s delve deep to details of this condition.

What Is Fibular Hemimelia?

Fibular hemimelia, a rare congenital disorder affecting approximately one in 25,000 newborns, stands as the most prevalent form of leg bone abnormality present at birth. This condition disrupts the normal development of the fibula, the thinner of the two long bones in the lower leg. Consequently, individuals with fibular hemimelia may encounter challenges with walking and standing.

To fully grasp the implications of fibular hemimelia, it’s essential to understand the anatomy of the lower leg. The lower leg comprises two long bones: the tibia, the thicker and more prominent bone, and the fibula, the thinner and more delicate counterpart. The tibia bears the primary weight-bearing responsibility, while the fibula plays a crucial role in ankle stability and movement.

The combined effects of fibular hemimelia extend beyond bone abnormalities, affecting both the musculoskeletal system and the individual’s overall well-being. The leg length discrepancy can lead to altered gait patterns, increased risk of falls, and potential joint pain or arthritis. Additionally, the psychosocial impact of fibular hemimelia can be significant, affecting body image, self-esteem, and social interactions.

Characteristics of Fibular Hemimelia

Fibular hemimelia manifests in a spectrum of severity, ranging from mild hypoplasia (underdevelopment) to complete aplasia (absence) of the fibula. This disruption in fibula development leads to a cascade of consequences, including:

  • Leg Length Discrepancy: The affected leg may be significantly shorter than the unaffected leg, resulting in an uneven gait and potential mobility limitations.

  • Foot Abnormalities: The foot associated with the affected leg may exhibit various deformities, such as a smaller size, outward deviation at the ankle, or a reduced number of toes.

  • Knee Problems: The knee joint on the affected side may develop abnormal alignment or structural malformations, potentially leading to pain and functional impairment.

  • Femur Growth Impairment: In certain cases, the femur, the thigh bone, may exhibit slowed or abnormal growth, further exacerbating the leg length discrepancy.

What Causes Fibular Hemimelia?

The precise cause of fibular hemimelia, a rare congenital malformation affecting the lower leg, remains shrouded in mystery. While researchers have diligently sought to unravel this enigma, the intricate interplay of genetic and environmental factors continues to pose a challenge.

Genetic Predispositions: A Delicate Dance of DNA: Genetic predisposition stands as a potential culprit in the pathogenesis of fibular hemimelia. Studies have uncovered genetic mutations or abnormalities that could disrupt the intricate signaling pathways governing limb formation during embryonic development. These alterations in the genetic blueprint could lead to abnormal development of the fibula, resulting in the characteristic features of fibular hemimelia.

Environmental Influences: A Web of Interwoven Factors: Environmental factors, though less definitively established, may also contribute to the risk of fibular hemimelia. Maternal exposure to certain medications, such as the infamous thalidomide, has been linked to an increased likelihood of the condition. Additionally, exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides or herbicides, during pregnancy may pose a potential risk. Maternal infections during pregnancy have also been associated with an elevated risk of fibular hemimelia.

The Role of Serendipity: Random Occurrence in the Realm of Development: In a significant number of cases, fibular hemimelia appears to emerge spontaneously, without any identifiable genetic or environmental triggers. This suggests that the condition may arise from random errors or disruptions during the complex process of limb development.

Risk Factors for Fibular Hemimelia

Fibular hemimelia is a rare congenital birth defect that affects the development of the fibula, the thinner of the two long bones in the lower leg. The exact cause of fibular hemimelia is unknown, but there are several risk factors that may increase the likelihood of its occurrence.

Genetic Factors

  • Familial History: Approximately 10% of individuals with fibular hemimelia have a family history of the condition. This suggests that there may be a genetic predisposition to fibular hemimelia.

  • Genetic Mutations: Studies have identified several genetic mutations that may be associated with fibular hemimelia. However, these mutations are not always present in individuals with the condition, and their role in the development of fibular hemimelia is not fully understood.

Environmental Factors

  • Maternal Exposure to Medications: Certain medications, such as thalidomide, have been linked to an increased risk of fibular hemimelia. Thalidomide was a sedative that was prescribed to pregnant women in the 1950s and 1960s, but it was later found to cause severe birth defects, including fibular hemimelia.

  • Maternal Exposure to Environmental Toxins: Exposure to certain environmental toxins, such as pesticides or herbicides, during pregnancy may also increase the risk of fibular hemimelia. However, the evidence for this association is limited.

  • Maternal Infections: Some studies have suggested that maternal infections during pregnancy may increase the risk of fibular hemimelia. However, more research is needed to confirm this association.

Other Factors

  • Gender: Fibular hemimelia is slightly more common in males than in females.

  • Race/Ethnicity: Fibular hemimelia appears to be more common in certain racial and ethnic groups. For example, it is more common in Native Americans and Hispanics than in Caucasians.

It is important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that a child will definitely develop fibular hemimelia. The exact cause of fibular hemimelia is unknown, and most cases of the condition occur in children without any known risk factors.

Is There Treatment for Fibular Hemimelia?

Yes, there are several treatment options available for fibular hemimelia, including limb-lengthening procedures, foot reconstruction surgery, and braces and prosthetics. The best treatment option for a particular individual will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual’s specific needs.

  • Limb-lengthening procedures: These procedures involve surgically lengthening the shorter leg to make it more equal in length to the unaffected leg. There are several different types of limb-lengthening procedures, but the most common is the Ilizarov technique.
  • Foot reconstruction surgery: This type of surgery is used to correct deformities of the foot, such as clubfoot or equinus deformity. The goal of foot reconstruction surgery is to improve the function of the foot and make it more plantigrade (flat on the ground).
  • Braces and prosthetics: Braces can be used to support the affected leg and improve mobility. Prosthetics can be used to replace a portion of the affected leg, such as the foot, if it is severely deformed or non-functional.

The goal of treatment for fibular hemimelia is to improve the function of the affected leg and allow the individual to live a full and active life. With the appropriate treatment, most individuals with fibular hemimelia can achieve normal or near-normal function.

In addition to these traditional treatments, there are also a number of newer treatment options that are being investigated. These include gene therapy and tissue engineering. Gene therapy has the potential to correct the genetic mutations that cause fibular hemimelia. Tissue engineering has the potential to create new bone and cartilage to replace the missing or underdeveloped fibula.

The outlook for individuals with fibular hemimelia is improving with the development of new treatment options. With early diagnosis and treatment, most individuals with fibular hemimelia can live full and active lives.

At What Stage Is Amputation Considered or Becomes a Last Resort?

Amputation is typically considered for fibular hemimelia when the following conditions are met:

  • The affected leg is significantly shorter than the unaffected leg (usually a difference of 5 cm or more)

  • The affected leg is severely deformed and cannot be corrected with surgery

  • The affected leg is causing pain or other problems that interfere with the individual’s mobility or quality of life

  • The individual is not a good candidate for limb-lengthening procedures or foot reconstruction surgery

In general, amputation is considered a last resort for fibular hemimelia. However, it can be a viable option for individuals who are not able to achieve good results with other treatments.

Here are some of the benefits of amputation for fibular hemimelia:

  • Improved mobility: Amputation can make it easier for individuals to walk, run, and participate in other physical activities.
  • Reduced pain: Amputation can eliminate or reduce pain caused by the affected leg.
  • Improved self-esteem: Amputation can help individuals feel more confident and comfortable with their appearance.

Here are some of the risks of amputation for fibular hemimelia:

  • Phantom limb pain: Phantom limb pain is a sensation of pain or discomfort that comes from a limb that is no longer there. It is a common complication of amputation.
  • Infection: Infection is another potential risk of amputation.
  • Psychological problems: Amputation can be a traumatic experience, and some individuals may experience psychological problems, such as anxiety or depression.

The decision of whether or not to have amputation is a personal one that should be made after careful consideration of the individual’s specific circumstances.

More Study Is Needed

Despite the strides made in understanding fibular hemimelia, the exact mechanisms and interactions underlying the condition remain elusive. Ongoing research endeavors are crucial to unravel the intricate tapestry of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to this rare disorder. As we delve deeper into the mysteries of fibular hemimelia, we pave the way for improved prevention strategies, diagnostic tools, and treatment interventions, empowering individuals affected by this condition to lead fulfilling lives.


1. Fibular Hemimelia: NHS

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Last Updated on November 24, 2023 by shalw

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