It’s super exciting when you get to return to Sport after your prosthetic rehabilitation. We try and find ways of adapting prostheses and activities so that no matter what you can participate in your chosen sport in some way or another. Sometimes it’s just a case of fitting a running blade, others it’s about problem solving and finding innovative ways to make an activity possible. Such as, using magnetic stirrups for horse riding, modifying an ankle for more range of motion to row or designing a hand that can hold on to triathlon bars whilst cycling.
Whatever it is we’re doing it always comes with the training needed to use that adaptation effectively and without compromising the rest of your body. Running for example exerts more than twice your body weight through a single limb and we need to prepare the muscles and joints for that.
Our return to running protocol runs through many exercises to ensure stability, strength and the ability to channel power into forward propulsion. It’s not just about putting a blade on and going for it but learning the correct technique, ensuring that we have a graded and gradual return to running that slowly increases the intensity in line with your strength and ability.
When it comes to trying different sports we are super lucky that we can incorporate these into our intensive rehab programme. We have taken patients paddle boarding, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, horse riding, to archery practice, hiking, climbing and more. For us the advanced rehabilitation is just as important as the initial return to walking.
Our aim is to return our patients to as close to their previous lifestyle as possible, of course we will have to make modifications, but returning to a hobby, trying new things or being able to get back into Sport are essential for quality of life and wellbeing.
One of my favourite parts of intensive rehabilitation is when we get to the advanced rehab week. We’ve usually been with the patient from the start of receiving a prosthesis, watched them improve their walking and get back into their everyday life. It just feels like the icing on the cake. Which is my I’m so glad that we have the time and resources at Dorset Orthopaedic to be able to offer return to sport and hobbies as part of our rehab, it just makes it feel like you’ve completed the journey and the smiles make all those months of hard work to get there worth it!