top of page

The wonders of the human body

The design of the human body is an absolute wonder. Human beings can:

  • Self-regulate their body temperature

  • Recognise the needs and emotions of others as well as their own

  • Attempt to repair themselves if injured

  • Choose whether to act on instinct or give an informed, logical response

  • Produce enough electricity in their brains to power a small lightbulb

  • Recognise sounds faster than they can blink

  • Extract all the nutrients and chemicals they need from the air around them and the food they eat/liquids they drink

  • Create life

  • Send signals to their brains via their nervous system at more than 100mph

All because, millions of years ago, one atom bumped into another. Isn’t that amazing?

Human body Anatomy drawing

Evolution has seen us adapt to different surroundings, eco-systems and threats. Given that we evolved from apes, walking upright was something we learned to do; this occurred before Homo sapiens became the dominant ‘human’ species.

Our bodies are effective ‘machines’, albeit in a human sense. Electrical impulses make our heart beat, much like an engine, which then pumps blood around our body and carries oxygen, fuel and all the other supplements our organs and muscles need to function. To an extent, the running of our bodies is programmed into our brain—inherent knowledge that we build on from birth. We don’t have to think about our heart beating, nor flick a switch to walk forwards; the vast majority of our motor skills just happen automatically, once our brain creates an instruction. These commands are not part of our conscious thoughts.

Feet Art

It’s perhaps no surprise then that, because our brains are so hard-wired to automatically move and to feel, these electrical impulses and sensations continue even when they shouldn’t.

Amputees can sometimes feel the presence of a limb or appendage even after it’s been removed from their bodies. Some amputees whose legs have been removed have reported feeling like their lower limbs are still there, and that they can walk on them like they’ve always done. Clearly, this is quite a dangerous sensation that could cause further damage to the patient. This phenomenon is called ‘phantom limb sensation’.

Given that said limb was likely to be heavily damaged in order to warrant amputation, it’s understandable (though unfair) that the signals being sent to the brain from the area are likely those of pain. This could be as a result of nerve damage from the amputation.

The condition affects seven out of ten amputees. In such instances, the brain has trouble interpreting the signals from the wound/damaged area and defaults to a pain sensation. Bone spurs as the area heals and ill-fitting prosthetics can be two of the issues also responsible for phantom or residual limb pain; however, constipation, stress and sex can be other factors.

Phantom pain can cause a great deal of misery to some amputees, who may be subjected to the sensations for more than two years after their operation. That’s not to say that there aren’t any treatments for the condition—anti-inflammatory medication, traditional pain relief and solutions such as steroids can ease the pain and help the nerves settle down. As a last resort, further surgery may be required.

It may sound flippant to say that Treat Your Feet can treat your feet even if they’re not there. Whilst your amputation consultant should be the first point of contact if you are experiencing the sensation of pain in your missing feet/limb(s), if you’re unable to reach your medical practitioner, we could offer advice on how the sensations could be alleviated in the meantime.


bottom of page