STEP 1: MINIMUM RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RUNNING
Below is a list of recommendations that you should keep in mind before you begin running. As always talk with your physician, prosthetist and any other clinicians involved in your rehabilitation/health care before you begin running. Each individual has specific healthcare needs and the guidelines listed below are things that you may want to consider before you begin running in order to prevent injuries.
1. GOOD SKIN HEALTH OF THE RESIDUAL LIMB
Ensure that you have no open wounds or blisters.
Your incision should be healed and there should be no drainage.
Make sure all stitches and staples have been removed.
Talk with your health care team in order to ensure that your skin is in proper condition to withstand the forces your limb will be placed under while running. If your residual limb skin quality is not sufficient, running can result in sores and blisters that can prevent you from wearing a prosthesis until they heal.
2. GOOD BONE HEALTH
There is evidence that suggests in some cases that a decrease in bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis) of the residual limb may occur after amputation. Speak with your physician before running in order to determine if this applies to you.
Some amputations can result in heterotopic ossification, which is the presence of bone growth in the soft tissues outside of the normal bony skeleton. This can result in pain when you put weight through your residual limb. If you have heterotopic ossification and it is causing symptoms with your day to day life it is not recommended that you try to run on it and that you talk to your physician and prosthetist about your options.
3. Absence of DRASTIC VOLUME changes IN THE RESIDUAL LIMB
- It is critical to ensure that you have a stable fit in your socket that does not change drastically throughout the day. This will minimize extraneous movements in the socket which can result in abrasions and irritation to the residual limb.
- Drastic volume fluctuations typically occur initially after amputation and tend to stabilize over time.
- You should be able to wear your prosthesis all day long without needing to apply more than 3 layers of sock ply to adjust for volume loss.
- It is important to have a stable volume while running as volume fluctuations can cause pistoning in the socket which may result in injuries to the skin of your residual limb or it may cause your prosthesis to slip off resulting in potential falls.
4. PROPER FIT OF YOUR PROSTHESIS
- Suboptimal socket fit can result in a modified gait.
- Gait deviations result in abnormal loading patterns which may result in injuries that can prevent you from running.
- Talk to your prosthetist about the fit of your prosthesis if you feel as though it is less than optimal.
- Signs of a suboptimal fit can be found on the injury prevention page of this website.
5. TRUST IN YOUR PROSTHESIS
- If you do not trust your prosthesis you will not put your full weight through that limb. As a result, you will end up favoring your intact limb and this can predispose your unaffected leg to increased forces that will lead to injuries.
6. PARTICIPATION IN GAIT TRAINING FOR WALKING
- If you walk with any sort of compensations with your prosthesis, these gait deviations will only be magnified when you run. Therefore, it is important to participate in a formal gait training program with a physical therapist in order to learn to walk with proper form before you begin running.