The benefits of fitting a rigid removable dressing (RRD) soon after transtibial amputation surgery have been well documented. RRDs enhance healing by immobilizing and supporting soft tissues. They prevent post-operative edema, protect the residuum from possible falls or trauma, and enable frequent access to the limb wound site.1 RRDs also help acclimate the limb to a total-contact environment, reduce phantom sensations and pain, and are effective in volume control. RRDs can be worn full time while the preparatory prosthesis is being fabricated and should be used during pre-prosthetic training and therapy. They are also a useful tool that can be worn intermittently with the prosthesis until the patient has built up tolerance to a full-time wear schedule.
This project began about ten years ago in an effort to fabricate a low-profile, lightweight, custom transtibial RRD on-site using simple tools and materials. The model is essentially a modern version of the RRD designed and developed by Yeong-Chi Wu, MD, and Harold Krick, CP, at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in 1977.2 Some of the materials are different, but overall, the concept and design were inspired by their work.