ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Writing characters: Amputees

Updated on March 21, 2014

There are many reasons why your character may have needed an amputation. It is highly advisable to consider what caused it, and the physcological impacts it may have had.

I know from personal experience that it can be a rather difficult topic to broach with others, and even trickier to find the information online.


Of course, Cancer's such as Osteosarcoma are known to effect limbs and can often result in patients needing an amputation to prevent the spread of the disease. Other types of bone cancer may also be something to consider when you start writing, especially if you are looking to avoid typical or overused illness.

You may need a little knowledge of Cancer treatments and the effects Cancer can have on both the individual and their health.

Osteosarcoma is a type of primary bone Cancer. It's the most common, though still an icredibly rare illness, with only around about 400 cases a year reported in the UK. Here's a little information about Osteosarcoma.

  • Mainly affects children and young adults
  • More prevalent in boys
  • Can affect any bone, though it is more commonly found in limbs
  • Causes are generally unknown, but many people suspect it to be the result of the bones growing quickly in a short space of time.

Bone cancers such as Osteosarcoma can be difficult to diagnose. The most common indicator is pain or swelling, though they may be discovered when a bone has been broken after an accident.


Neuroma is a painful condition which effects nerves and muscle tissue. It usually refers to the growth of a tumour in the nerve tissue, which often grows over a period of several years.

It usually effects people in the 40- 50 age bracket, and is rarely found in younger people. Tumours that grow due to neuroma are usually malignant, and don't cause much in the way of problems. The word can also be used to refer to swelling or nerve trauma.

Severe injuries

As you may know, things such as burns and car accidents can lead to patients needing an amputation. There isn't really much to say on this particular subheading, as it's all fairly obvious. (I may write a separate hub in the future relating to injuries and conditions caused by conflict/warzones)

Of course, there are many other causes and variations of illnessess that may lead to amputation, and I would suggest looking further into specific categories that interest you.

A quick picture guide to the evolution of prothestic legs
A quick picture guide to the evolution of prothestic legs


  • A prosthetic is an umbrella term referring to an artificial body part. This can be an ear, eye, or a replacement for any type of bodypart.
  • Most modern prosthetics are made from plastics and metal composites.
  • Limbs in the past were made from a range of different materials such as wood and aluminium.
  • Amputation above the knee will require special limbs that incorporate a joint in order for the patient to be able to weight bear on their new limb.
  • Limbs must be fitted correctly in order to avoid soft tissue damage to what remains of the limb.
  • The estimated recovery time for an amputee is 12-18 months. Prothestics will not be issued until after this time
  • Even in countries with free health care, paying for a prothesis can be difficult and expensive. Many families and individuals cannot afford it.


Psychological effects of amputation

Different people react to the trauma of losing a limb in different ways. The most important thing to remember, however, is the stages of grief a person goes through. It is the same idea as a person suffering the loss of a loved one or mourning for something they could have had. Amputees may experience many of the symptoms of a person going through bereavement or loss.

  • Postoperative grief is a general reaction to the loss of a limb, as many need time to adjust to the change.
  • This can sometimes lead to increased anxiety or depression
  • Guilt, fear and anger are common cycles of emotion for an amputee to experience
  • Amputees can often feel an icreased sense of vulnerability or social exclusion

The five stages of grief

  • Denial/isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

There are many effects, namely on younger people, such as lack of confidence and a change in body image.

Just a nice video about the technicalities of a prosthetic limb


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)