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Issues Faced Amputee Runners – Inclusive Running

With the Olympic committee committing to including amputee athletes, societies around the world are encouraging more disabled people to be a part of athletic events. For an amputee to be able to compete in a national or international tournament, they would require several additional aids to help them in their sporting adventure. Once they find the right support for their sport, amputee athletes and sportsman can train in pursuit of becoming professional. However, there are several issues when it comes to aids. With amputee runners, the running legs pose several problems and choices.

Choices of Running Legs

When an amputee has decided to take up running, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the right leg that would be best for them. The running legs that are available in the market are categorized according to the distance the athlete plans on running. Most amputee athletes know about the ‘Blades’ by Oscar Pistorius. These are the most well-known legs and is otherwise called the ‘Cheetah Foot.’ There are two more legs which are well-known. They are the Sprinter and the C-Sprint; which is manufactured by a German company. These famous brands are best for short distance running. The feet are also very stiff to cater to high impact that the feet require when sprinting a short distance.

Issues Faced with Running Legs

The legs are designed to strengthen the muscles to perform better on the field or the running path. When it comes to balance and stride recovery, these feet are the best at managing both. However, amputees are not all the same and have a problem with the length of the limb. The running legs are all sized to be 2 inches longer when standing than when running to make the run effectively. There is a spring to the affected leg, and the supporting leg acts to power the stride. The running leg is fine as long as the runner is running, however, when standing, the amputee’s running leg tucks underneath and is slightly higher and can be tiring to stand on after a run. Over time, the number of falls and injuries increase if the muscles at the hip are not strengthened enough.

Amputees with only one leg that needs a running leg, it is easier to focus on the amputated side and balance the other with a prosthetic. Keeping the skin healthy on the prosthetic leg is very important. Working with a physical therapist regularly helps with strengthening the right muscles to support the amputation. Distribution of the body weight is essential. Most amputee runners can learn how to balance their body weight through the day to day activities. However, when taking up running, the same should be adhered to. It is difficult to adjust the load when running is involved, and the dominant side of the body usually takes the weight. The improper distribution of pressure can cause multiple injuries along with wear and tear of the ligaments. Overuse of the dominant side contributes to problems such as Morton’s Neuroma, Iliotibial Band Pain, Achilles Tendonitis, etc.

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