The Interesting Thing About PFFD, Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency
Artwork Copyright 2010 Jennifer Latham Robinson, www.JenniferLathamRobinson.com
I was walking through the central fabrication laboratory where I work the other day and happened to notice an intriguing plaster positive of a person’s leg. The plaster positive cast had yet to be modified, so the natural anatomical detail was still intact. The short femur was pleasantly familiar. I mentioned to a technician, “You know, that person and I were born with the same condition, proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD).” I think the really interesting thing about PFFD is the variety of presentations and treatments. PFFD is primarily a deficiency of the femur and hip joint. It is not genetic, but rather a result of environmental factors in the womb. It’s believed to occur somewhere around the sixth week of human gestation. The defect can range from a slight limb length discrepancy, which may necessitate a shoe lift, to total absence of the femur bone, which may require amputation and the use of a prosthetic limb. It’s one of the those conditions that often blurs the line between orthotic and prosthetic devices.