A clinical and radiological survey of bone and joint changes in 42 lower limb amputees is reported. There was a significant increase in osteoarthrosis in the knee of the unamputated legs compared with the amputated side. The amputated side characteristically showed osteoporosis. Comparing the prevalence of osteoarthrosis in this study with figures in the population, it is more likely that the osteoporosis of the amputated limb had a protective effect on that side than that mechanical factors produced more osteoarthrosis on the contralateral side. Backache occurred in about half the patients, and was severe in 19%. It did not appear to be related to disc degeneration, but scoliosis was observed in 64% of patients.
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