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Home Blog How to Enjoy the Great Outdoors as a New Amputee

How to Enjoy the Great Outdoors as a New Amputee

Posted in: Amputee

Posted on: by Level Four

How to Enjoy the Great Outdoors as a New Amputee

As the temperature outside increases, so do the opportunities for fresh-air leisure after a winter cooped up inside. If you’re new to your prosthesis, don’t think that you have to give the beautiful weather a pass this year. With some practice, a couple of adaptations, and pure determination, your friends at O&P By Design can help you take the great outdoors in stride:

Gardening

  • For lower extremity amputees, raised beds and hanging planters puts less distance between you and the ground, and limits the amount of time spent kneeling or bending
  • Keep tools, seeds, and watering cans in a tool cart so your items are always within reach
  • A nearby bench or rolling seat puts you at ground level without added stress on knees or ankles
  • Fixing a hand trowel, fork, or hoe directly to your arm prosthesis provides greater stability and range of motion than you’d gain from gripping the tool with a prosthetic hand alone

Walking

  • Walking requires a build-up of stamina for both cardiovascular systems and skin. Take it easy at first, walking down the length of your sidewalk or looping around your neighborhood once before building up to longer jaunts.
  • Stairs, curbs, hills, and uneven surfaces can throw off your gait. A cane, walking poles, or balance check from a friend can help you take the road bumps in stride.
  • To increase stamina and stability, engage in a number of practical exercises before you head out. Practice falling and getting back up, walking on uneven surfaces like carpets and rugs, and balancing on one leg to develop muscle memory.

Hiking

  • Choose liners made of wool or synthetic materials, as they wick sweat and splashes better than cotton, which absorbs liquid and can create skin irritation through chafing.
  • Opt for more rather than fewer layers of socks, which can create a layer to cushion the residual limb and prevent pressure sores from prolonged time in a prosthesis
  • Invest in a pair of hiking poles. Not only can they help maintain balance on uneven terrain, but they can help unburden pressure from knees or thighs.

Biking, swimming, kayaking, and other activities that require a specific range of motion may require special prostheses to participate and enjoy the activity fully. Contact one of the experts at O&P By Design for questions about your prosthetic options so you can take complete advantage of the outdoors.