Amputation for a better life

Sabine Kilz’s passion over the last few years has been sport, table tennis to be precise. She shares her fascination for this hobby with her husband, with whom she often likes to play with. However, enjoying sport is not something the 54 year old takes for granted. She was convinced for a long time that there would be no life for her without constant pain.

Her left leg was badly damaged in a moped accident when she was 17. The injuries became chronically inflamed, which led to many operations and years of pain. It was unthinkable to do sports, to manage everyday life was a big challenge. 32 years passed by and, especially on the bad days, she thought about amputation but kept pushing the thoughts aside. Then, however, the inflammation returned and led to the decision: The leg must be taken off. That was in the summer of 2014 and there were 4 months till the operation. “Of course you talk about all the risks with your doctor and search for information in the internet. The length of the stump is crucial and is then talked over with the doctor and the technician. I didn’t have to prepare myself much emotionally as I didn’t have any more problems about an amputation. On the contrary, I felt relieved. It could only get better,” Sabine Kilz reports. She laughs and adds: “On the day of the operation, my husband and I thought that I should say goodbye to my leg with a saying: 32 years of agony are enough, as of 28.11.2014 a new life is beginning! Best wishes, your me – wink smiley. A new life begins tomorrow.”

She sometimes had a few doubts after the operation because the wound on her stump just wouldn’t heal. As well as that, Sabine’s weight doubled to 130kg due to the medication. The stump healed relatively quickly after 5 1/2 months, when the cause of the problem, a forgotten thread, was found.
The initial treatment which followed is a liberation :

“I took my first steps at the beginning of the summer. I was overjoyed to walk at last without those agonizing pains.”

She discovers table tennis a little later. Her husband, who practiced this sport in his youth, suggests a shared hobby for the two of them. He isn’t lacking in patience, at the beginning they both practice for only 10 minutes. Then this sport starts to become more fun for Sabine Kilz and her physical condition improves each time. Finally she is awarded second place in the standing table tennis for the disabled in Rheinland-Pfalz. Looking back, it is clear to her: “I can count myself to be one of the happiest people because I have such a loving husband and my two children who always stood and stand by me. Without them I wouldn’t have managed everything so well.”

Equally important is also the good support she gets from her orthopedic technician. “When we first met Sabine , during our first conversation, we were impressed by her self confidence and her aims and we looked forward to looking after her intensively” says Marius Wolf. Because Sabine’s weight was so high at that time they decided on an Echelon foot from Blatchford for learning on a daily basis. The flexible ankle joint mimics the natural function and constantly adjusts itself to whatever ground surface there is. “At the beginning it was to re-enable Sabine to stand on two legs, balance, get feeling for her body and trust her left leg. Her wishes naturally changed with the increased mobility and active use of her prosthesis and she was inquisitive to find out what was possible. It’s wonderful to experience something like this. Innumerable shaft systems and feet were tested in order to create the prosthesis which fitted her possibilities and wishes. Even after years of looking after someone it is a continuing process, using the latest technologies, to keep improving details,” Marius Wolf continues. Sabine is completely satisfied: “I can do everything with the Echelon, I am very active and also like walking and swimming. At long last I can undertake so much with my husband and my children and don’t have to worry if I can manage it or not! I wear my prosthesis all day and live my life as I want to. I feel really good!”

And finally the fun of table tennis is there, which means that the suitable prosthesis has to be found for the new active life. Once again Marius Wolf recommends a Blatchford product, the choice is the Elite Blade. It enablesshort quick steps, very short sideways steps and good rolling movement, which are needed for the growing challenges of table tennis.

Today Sabine Kilz is very satisfied with the caring support that she gets and with her mobility. A short time ago she was able to fully test the prosthesis foot, Elan, which is also fitted with electronics and imitates the natural muscle resistance as well as the natural bone movement. Result: A 10 km hike and a 3 day trade fair were no problem – non stop action all mastered perfectly!

When she looks back at the time before and after the amputation her opinion is clear: “Many areas of my life are much better today with my prosthesis than in the time when I had two legs. I can manage my daily life better and I can practice my new hobby, table tennis. I’m really glad and happy that I decided to take this decisive step.”

The medical suppliers team Wolf all agree: “Sabine is a perfect example of the impressive success that can be achieved with a lot of patience and the attitude that “giving up is no option”. We are really proud to be allowed to be a part of Sabine’s story.”


A step towards a natural leg

The adaptable artist in safety and walking comfort – physiological walking, using the unique Echelon – joint construction.
The waterproof Echelon carbon foot, with its hydraulic ankle joint movement, providing comfortable sitting, as well as standing, makes walking up and down slopes or on uneven surfaces possible. The biometric foot prosthesis searches independently for full surface contact. Safe and relaxed walking is made possible on different terrains. The microprocessed steered, hydraulic ankle joint Elan, imitates the natural resistance of the muscles and bone movement, by adjusting the hydraulic resistance thus giving constant stability when standing on slopes and differing surfaces. The body symmetry and balance reactions are therefore bettered. Unnecessary compensating balance movements are distinctly reduced. The trendsetting development is based on the Echelon foot prosthesis, which has already won many prizes for innovation. Walking is more gentle, safer and more natural, relieving the whole joint chain and the body. Incredibly realistic movement is possible.

Further information about the Elan and Echelon on


Text: Redaktion,Endolite Deutschland, Wolf-Orthopädietechnik GmbH, Fotos: Manuel Fischer/