What extra gear that I need when walking as an amputee? I think its time to go into a bit more detail.
I am speaking for myself and drawing on some of the mistakes that I have made in the past..
First! Are the all important drinks
In the colder months I like to have my jetboil with me; however I will always take at least two litres of water or more depending on the length of walk.
However in the warmer (dare I say summer) months I have quickly learnt that even down to minimum clothing I sweat like there is no tomorrow .
I never used to before my accident. I have read somewhere it’s because it takes a bit more energy to walk as an amputee (sounds good to me I will stick to that).
Now my point is with all this extra sweating, I have found that I need to replace not only fluids but salts, minerals and electrolytes so after much testing I always use this:-
I am not saying it will cure all ill’s or any thing like that, but for me it does help prevent cramping, adds recovery and I have found by bitter experience that if my fluid and salt level’s drop My Phantom pain will call and remind me in the most painful way that I have been very stupid boy.
Ok enough said drink lots of fluids with lots of electrolytes
Now I have already lost one foot so I really want to take care of the one I have got left,
What I found was with my old boots I couldn’t get them onto my arty foot. (all you amputees will know what I am on about) because it wont bend, I tried cutting down the side of the tong and then it was possible to get them on, however when walking in them it was almost impossible waiting for the foot to swing through then it came to a juddering halt as it hit the stops, far to heavy.
Right I needed
I must have built in ankle protection
Not to high (or I wouldn’t get the foot in)
Must be waterproof ECT
What I found was that there are zillions out there.
These suited me:- Brasher Supalite Hybrid GTX Men’s - Khaki/Brown in my early days( sadly they stopped making them.)
so I progressed to these even lighter boots made by INOV8 the 400 ...............fantastic but they feel and walk like trainers. (These are my preferred boots nowadays)
Light, waterproof, (wear straight from the box) and give the all important ankle support /protection.
Sadly they stopped making them and I moved onto a even lighter boot still made by invo8 the 286 . info :-
Meta-Flex - Anatomically aligned in front of the metatarsal heads to provide a natural fore foot flex and protection whilst running.
Just a useful tip I picked up from somewhere always put your arty foot into a plastic carrier bag, this has two advantages.
1) It lets your foot slid in and out so much easer
2) If you are a bit like me and regally enter boggy / wet areas over the top of your boots it will stop the foot shell from filling up with allsorts of nasty smelly stuff.
I use asda bags (but I don’t have any street cred) so co op will do just as well, if you are worried about image try Harrods bags I am sure that they would be just as good or if you are young and female try dotty p or what ever is in fashion, I mean you are going out into the hills you don’t know who will see you.
So basic message here is good footwear is a must no arguments
Again there are zillions on the internet; they come in all sorts of sizes, colours, one piece, two pieces, three pieces, four pieces, some have built in anti shocks, some have interchangeable tips, they even call them by different names from walking poles, hiking poles, trekking poles, Nordic walking poles, yes if its in fashion they will rename it and up the price. So what do we want?
First of all, DON’T go too cheap on this; I know of two people who got cheap poles and when they needed them the most they simply snapped
Speaking for myself I don’t like using them, but there are types of terrain that I some times come up against and they prove to be a god send. They will get you out of trouble and help you get back home. (I always have mine on the back of my rucksack)
Next always get them that have interchangeable tips on, it cheaper than replace the poles.
Tips: - rubber, metal, extra grip , wide ,thin they come in all sizes , I have rubber tips to go over the metal spikes & also carry the cup type plates to help stop it sinking into the ground.
Anti shock types: - never did anything for me but I know some people swear by them
Wrist straps are a must have , (all good poles come with them) set them to the right length and lean how to use them , they can and will make on huge difference on the stress points on your body , just by moving how you grip the poles or how much you “rest” your wrist on the straps . They will make a big difference.
My poles are three pieces, don’t know there name as it been worn off over the years but as I stated earlier there are tons to choose from.
One last thing mine are black because I look good in black but get what ever colour suits you.
BUT don’t go out without them
Very cheap to buy a couple of pounds for a basic one , rolls up small weighs next to nothing , but will help keep you dry if the worse should happen .
Again a must have item
So why do I carry my waterproof coat no matter what the weather is doing?
Because who can predict the weather especially on and around the hills!
I personally have been caught out several times.
There is nothing worse than being caught without waterproofs and getting cold ,wet knowing you have a lengthy walk back to your car or hotel And as an amputee you know that a speedy return is out of the question, and if the worse should happen, its nice to know that you can put on your coat sit tight knowing it will keep you warm & dry till either help arrives or the weather improves, Where I do a lot of my walking (cheviot hills )it is possible to have all four seasons in one day. So you need a really good waterproof coat.
Many coats are made from gore-tex in one form or another. If you are keen like me and go out in sub-zero temperatures you may need a heavier coat and/or more clothing layers underneath depending on your planned level of activity.
There are zillions of well known brands on the market, so what to look for?
I tend to look for:-
• The hood – a well designed hood will turn with your head and have a stiff peak wire. It should also be adjustable at the back and at the front on both sides so that you can minimise facial exposure and obtain a good snug fit that cannot blow off. Make sure you fully test it out in the shop.
• A generous front neck flap is a must.
• The coat should have two good sized side pockets as well as a chest map pocket and preferably a fourth chest pocket.
• The length should be enough to cover some of your backside and many hiking coats are now designed to be longer at the back than the front for this reason.
For "summer" hiking you should consider a light gore-tex or paclite coat. In winter the same coat will be good with your wind block under it but in bad conditions a heavier gore-tex coat is a must. Make sure it has a storm flap over the zip to keep the rain out. Berghaus make a four season gore-tex jacket with under arm venting; plenty of pockets and it is considerably lighter than previous versions. Which is one reason that I like it?
Colour is optional but a high visibility colour such as red, orange or yellow might one day save your life! Mine is blue (silly boy should listen to my own advice)
Your hiking coat will not be cheap (you get what you pay for) and it needs to be looked after to perform at its best in the worst of conditions. The golden rules are:
A. When storing it between walks hang it up properly to allow it to "uncrease".
B. At least once a year wash the coat with specially formulated product available from most outdoor shops and centres. Frequent hikers consider twice yearly washing. I wash mine using nikwash but there other brands
C. After washing reproof it using the correct product. Again I use nikwax but there other brands
D. Repair any tears using a gore-tex kit. (Better still don’t tear it)
Some coats have under arm zips to aid cooling and drying whilst you are walking along, otherwise open the front zip and/or sleeve cuffs if you need some ventilation.
On the hills good performance of your hiking coat is vital so look after it well. It could save you a lot of grief. And as I often tell my better half it is not a fashion item.
Waterproof over trousers.
Again a very useful bit of kit to have stored away in your rucksack, doesn’t weigh that much but price varies depending on make and quality. Speaking as an amputee, pick something that has zips to allow them to easily pulled over the arty leg.
Not really an essential bit of kit, however sometimes the ground is wet and you are so knackered you just have to sit down and rest the last thing you want is a cold wet bottom.
They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes , cost a couple of pounds , weight next to nothing and take up very little space in the ruck sack, or you could go with the cheaper option and just use a plastic shopping bag.
Just for the Ladies
For any above knee Ladies out there that are a bit concerned about the lack of toilets facilities behaps one of these might be the answer link:-
Ps Make sure you buy the extension tube too.
And from what I have been told get a bit of practise in before you go out (can get a bit messy if you get it wrong)
Right now that’s all I am going to cover as there are loads of other sites out there that cover the rest i.e. , clothing ,maps ,compasses , food , phones , first aid kits ,torches, Ruck sacks , how to plane your route, who to inform, time taken Ect Ect
there is one bit of kit I always have in my ruck sack that is down to me being an amputee this is my Amp emergency kit
A small container of talcum powder (for around bum cheeks and bits)
A small towel (for drying stump)
A spare air realise valve. I once had a blow out and it took ages to get back when the leg kept slipping off
Lanacane Anti-chafing Gel this is good stuff stops all wet and dry rubbing/friction spots
Spare ankle joint I had one break when I was half way up some hill miles from anywhere and the foot dropped off it took hours and a lot of hard hopping and crawling to get back to the car.
My limb centre replaced it with a new titanium “unbreakable “one, and after much pestering by me gave me a spare one
The correct size Allen key to fit the above
Small containers of Iceross spray to help put leg on again.
Tegaderm plasters/ patches
Allevyn compression foam
And sterilizing anti bacterial wipes.
I am not saying every one should have this because we are all different but it has come in very handy on more than one occasion.
Give it some thought before you go out. It mostly common sense
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