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Heartwarming video shows little girl takes her first steps on her new prosthetic leg for the first time

·4-min read

This is the adorable moment a little girl took her first steps on her new prosthetic for the first time - just four months after having her foot amputated.

Willow, one, was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia - a birth defect where part or all the fibular bone is missing - which was discovered before she was born at the 20-week scan. 

Parents Charlotte and James Dodding, both 27, were told to 'wait and see' how severe the birth defect would be when she was born and decided on the best course of treatment.  

Willow arrived in July 2019, at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, weighing 5lb 13oz, and doctors noticed the two remaining bones in her right leg were shorter than her left leg. 

Charlotte made the tough decision to have the front part of the tot's foot amputated in January 2020 - when she was 19 months old - to give her best chance of mobility later in life. 

It took surgeons at Manchester Children's hospital two-and-a-half hours to successfully perform a Syme amputation - which involved removing the front half of her foot and leaving the heel pad. 

Despite the difficultly Willow has faced, the brave tot hit all her milestones - Charlotte claimed she was even crawling and walking earlier than expected.

The proud parents captured the first time the tot used her custom-made prosthetic leg - that was designed with the floral material from a top that she wore as a baby by Preston Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre. 

Charlotte, a stay at home mum and special support assistant, from Blackpool, Lancashire, said: "We're so proud of Willow. 

"She so determined and resilient - nothing fazes her. 

"It was a tough decision to choose to amputate her leg, but we knew it was the best option. 

"She's already walking confidently on the new prosthetic. 

"We're so proud of her." 

Charlotte and James, a teacher, discovered they were expecting their first baby in November 2018. 

At the routine 20-week scan, doctors broke the news that their little girl had a missing fibular bone in her right leg and the unborn tot was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia. 

Willow still had the two remaining bones in her right leg - the tibia and femur bone - however they were shorter making her legs an uneven length. 

When Willow arrived in July 2019 doctors also noticed she was missing two toes from her right foot and she had a smaller than average hip. 

Charlotte said: "It was quite a shock to get that news. 

"There's no reason for it, it was just a random mutation." 

As the determined tot got older, she started walking, but the difference in leg length left her with a limp and reduced mobility. 

She started wearing an orthotic and a knee brace to support her ankle as a temporary measure. 

Doctors recommended she undergo a Syme amputation - which involves cutting away the front of the foot and leaving the heel pad. 

It meant she could comfortably wear a prosthetic and move more freely.  

Charlotte said: "She used to walk on the inside of her foot quite badly and her knee would 'pop' out of place. 

"We looked at leg lengthening but that would involve lots of operations and we wanted her to have a normal childhood. 

"Also, it didn't guarantee she wouldn't need an amputation when she was older anyway."


In January 2021, Willow underwent the procedure to have part of her foot amputated.  

She had a custom-made prosthetic leg built by Preston Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre who used fabric from her favourite top as the material for the outside of the leg. 

In May 2021, just four months after the amputation, Willow was up walking in her new leg, as seen in the adorable footage.  

Charlotte said: "She was a little upset when she woke up from the operation but she's absolutely fine now. 

"She couldn't wait to get moving again and I remember her trying to crawl the day after her operation.

"In fact, I don't think she remembers having her foot - she is so comfortable with the prosthetic.  

"Our goal is to raise awareness for fibular hemimelia and to support other families.

"She's doing so well and we're really thankful for the amazing prosthetic." 

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