Pair of artificial legs, Roehampton, England, 1977

1977 in Bethesda
Hanger Orthopaedic Group, Inc

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Pair of extension prostheses for a boy with extremely short legs (phocomelia) due to Thalidomide. Blocked leather open-ended sockets (to allow the feet to hang free) mounted on dural struts which are attached to wooden shins and feet, without ankle joints. Black leather imitation shoe covering and cordovan 'sock'. Rigid pelvic bands with hip joints. Note completely flat soles to afford maximum stability when walking. Made by Hanger in 1977.

A boy with extremely short legs used this pair of extension prostheses. The condition is called ‘phocomelia’. It was due to the effects of Thalidomide. This drug was given to pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 1960s to ease morning sickness and aid sleep. It caused thousands of serious birth defects. Babies were born with under-developed or missing limbs. The prostheses were made by artificial limb manufacturer Hanger in 1977.

The prosthesis consists of rigid pelvic bands and hip joints with leather open-ended sockets. This allowed the feet to hang free. Attached to these are struts with wooden shins and feet. The flat soles of the imitation shoe gave maximum stability when walking.


Object Number:
leather, plastic and textile
artificial leg
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • prosthesis
  • artificial limb
Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton Healthcare NHS Trust

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