The Difference a Well-Fitting Prosthesis Makes in Sports

In sports, the right equipment, and even more so, the best fitting equipment, can make all of the difference in the world. You can have the best soccer cleats, the best sneakers, or the best skates, but if they are too loose, you will wobble and fall; and if they are too tight, you will be constrained from performing at your absolute best.

For amputees, the issue of fit has a far greater impact on their potential ability than the scenarios above. If the socket on your prosthetic limb is not perfectly fit for your body, and for your activity level and lifestyle, it can substantially impact your performance in sports and activities, and can even lead to injury.

Some of the issues faced by  amputee athletes with ill-fitting prosthetic limbs include:

Discomfort & Irritation

Amputees who are very physically active are putting a tremendous amount of stress on their residual limb and socket. While less-active people may not notice much discomfort from a poor-fitting prosthesis, those who are running, skiing, biking, and competing in other activities may experience extreme discomfort and irritation, which may limit their level of activity, or at minimum, their enjoyment of it.

Fatigue

While it may not be immediately apparent, the additional energy a person has to use in order to overcompensate for an ill-fitting prosthesis by putting more pressure on their residual limb can be exhausting. And this fatigue can keep individuals from being able to participate to their best abilities in sports, or even to keep up with their teammates.

Injury

When you’re performing at your highest level, injuries are more likely to occur. And if your prosthetic limb does not support you perfectly, comfortably, and/or is not suitable for the activity you are performing, you could run the risk of it slipping away from you. If this were to occur while you were running, skating, skiing, or otherwise competing in a highly physical activity, it could cause serious injury.

If any of these scenarios are familiar to you, we encourage you to speak to a certified prosthetist about your activity levels, needs, and the issues you are experiencing. If you’d like to schedule a consult with one of our prosthetists, please contact us.

Want to see what you can accomplish with a well-fitting prosthesis? Check out this video:

Why Sport is so Important; and Health Insurers Should Agree!

For many amputees, getting back to a sport or activity they love after an amputation can be the single most important catalyst to help them move forward in their lives. Beyond the physical benefits of weight control, improved cardiovascular health, muscle building, and other positive effects, there are also a wide range of non-physical attributes that can have a lasting impact long after the activity ends.

Sounds too good to be true? Read on, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Some of the positive impacts that sport can have on one’s overall wellbeing, life, and even financial standing include:

Emotional Wellbeing

This is #1 on the list for a reason. Getting back to, or involved for the first time in, a sport that you love can be life-changing. It’s an opportunity to be competitive, be physically active, make new friends, and exceed goals and expectations; and the benefits to one’s mental and emotional health can be positively life-altering. Don’t believe us? Get back out there and give yourself an opportunity to try a new sport or activity, take a few practice runs, and see how you feel – we promise it will change your mind.

Relationships with Family & Friends

When you feel better (see: Emotional Wellbeing, above), you will build better relationships with family and friends, you will be a better (more communicative, more understanding, more empathetic) spouse, and you will have more energy to spend quality time with the people you love. It is also well documented that adults who are physically active generally encourage their children to play sports, which in turn will improve their children’s health and quality of life.

Higher Income

How could income possibly be affected by playing sports? Physical activity leads to improved emotional and mental health, increased energy and endurance, a sense of accomplishment, and an overall drive to reach new heights. These, in turn, lead to improved performance at work, and sometimes even open the doors to a new career path that a person had never even imagined, such as a profession in healthcare or counseling to help others facing their own obstacles. Better work performance, energy, drive, and passion for one’s career can have limitless effects on a person’s income and financial stability.

Lower Healthcare Costs

All of the points above lead to better health. Better health = lower healthcare costs for the individual, their family, and their community (as insurance premiums are based on the total average costs of the entire group). By supporting the physical, emotional, mental, and overall wellbeing of amputees, everyone benefits from the ripple effects of these attributes.

We’d love to hear from you. How has sport improved your life? Please comment below.

Winter Amputee Sports: Sochi 2014

It’s an exciting year for adaptive sports enthusiasts. Last month, in Sochi, Russia, US athletes put their years of training, of early morning practice runs, of epic crashes, and of grueling drill work to the test, to compete for those coveted gold, silver and bronze medals.

Some of the 2014 highlights included:

FIRST EVER Snowboard Cross Competition!

We witnessed history as we cheered on our snowboarders through the jumps, turns, sideswiping competitors, and other incredible challenges in their race to the finish! Regardless of finishing place, this was an incredible event to witness.

Celebrity-Status Snowboarder Amy Purdy

Is there anything she can’t do? Amy is making an incredible name for herself on the slopes; while off the slopes, she was simultaneously training for the upcoming season of ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’, where she is paired off with Derek Hough to reach for yet another trophy!

Bilateral Amputee Amy was able to compete in a sport (snowboard cross) that generally requires the use of the athlete’s knees, feet and toes to dig in and turn the snowboard. Amy accomplishes this with the use of prosthetic legs and feet, and has been blowing the competition (both able-bodied and adaptive skiers alike) away for years.

Oh, and did we mention she was also recently featured in a full-page article in Glamour magazine? Like we said, there’s nothing she can’t do!

Those are just a couple of the highlights. You’ll have to tune into the television or online coverage to see it all.

Which winter sport are YOU most interested in? We’d love to see your pictures and videos on the slopes, or the ice, or wherever you compete. Post them to our Facebook page, and we just may share  them with our entire community!