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Melina Reis (center). (photo: EPTV)

En pointe

Amputee ballerina receives foot prosthesis allowing her to dance again after 13 years

By WITW Staff on March 16, 2016

Melina Reis, a Brazilian ballerina who had her lower left leg amputated after a car accident in 2003, is finally able to dance again after receiving a personalized “pointe” foot prosthesis. The now 31-year old amateur dancer asked Dr. José André Carvalho, a prosthetic specialist in São Paulo, to make the tip-toed prosthetic foot for her, a challenge he accepted even though there was no medical literature to help him. Mrs. Reis, who now works as a multi-media designer, tried the foot during a series of ballet sessions this month and says it’s nearly perfect. “It has always been my dream to go back to using pointe shoes. To be able to dance again is an inexplicable feeling of joy and deep satisfaction.”

(photo: EPTV)
(photo: EPTV)

Dr. Carvalho explained that to produce the limb, he had to “innovate using applied concepts of biomechanics and mathematical calculations as the prosthesis also needed to capture the posture and beauty of the ballerina while carrying her weight.” Since it was made as a case-study experiment, he developed the prosthetic free of charge for Mrs. Reis, who hopes to be able to perform in front of an audience in two years. “I need to do more training. This has given me a quality of life that was beyond my expectations,” she said.

Read the full story at The Independent.