Hiking as a person with an amputation can be a great way to get outside and get active. One advantage to hiking is that it often does not require a special prosthesis. You can start slow and work your way up to longer more difficult trails. There are many hiking hacks that can help you to stay safe and enjoy your time outside without being uncomfortable.
Whether your goal is to be an expert hiker or occasional hiker you should still start slow. Start by taking short walks a few times a week. This is going to help prepare your residual limb for longer hikes. It will help to decrease the chances of swelling or chaffing when you are ready to take on a longer more difficult trail. A shorter walk gives you a chance to see how your prosthetic limb, residual limb and footwear are going to work. If you are experiencing difficulties during shorter hikes let your prosthetist know so that any necessary adjustments to your prosthesis can be performed before you take on more challenging hikes.
Take a Friend
When possible, especially when you are starting out, it is a good idea to have someone with you to make sure you both stay safe. If there is an unforeseen issue you will have someone there to help you. If you can’t take a friend with you, be sure to let someone know where you are going and when they can expect you back. Check in with someone when possible.
Take a Fully Charged Cell Phone
Similar to the first tip, have your cell phone with you and making sure you have a full battery, it can really help if something serious happens.
Invest in a Pair of Hiking Poles
As you get ready to take on more difficult trails that have uneven terrain or conditions that are less than ideal, you may want to invest in hiking poles. They have several advantages including; helping with balance, walking on wet, muddy or snowy trails, assisting you while you are going uphill or downhill. Hiking poles can be found at most sporting goods stores.
Like any new activity you start it is important to take your time and understand exactly what you are doing and how your prosthesis will work. Consult your Prosthetist, they will help you to reach your hiking goals and you are equipped with the best prosthesis for the job!
If you are a patient at Winnipeg Prosthetics and Orthotics and would like to try hiking but are not sure where to start, feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-661-8777.