Last week we asked the Paradox Sports community for their most pressing questions about adaptive sports and had the Paradox Sports Ambassadors answer them. To learn more about the Ambassadors, read their stories here.
1. Do you have suggestions on how to find a stride for jogging with a relatively new prosthetic?
I have completed over 24 ironman races and 10 marathon races….every time I get a new running leg it takes lots of time and practice to find my stride. I unusually start with a shorter stride and gradually lengthen that stride overtime. Finally getting my stride to fall directly under my hips to mimic my “normal side”. – Jeff G.
The stride for jogging will depend on what kind of prosthetic you have, Above Knee versus Below Knee, and what type of foot you are using. If you are a below knee using a traditional foot, you want to make sure that the foot is rated for K4 activity (high and extremely active) as not all feet are the same. With a K4 rated foot you will most likely be running at a jogging pace while managing a heel strike type running gait. But then again it depends on what foot you have. You might want to check with your prosthetist about this. If you are a below knee and you are running with a Cheetah running blade the running should feel fairly natural. You’ll want to make sure that your landing on the “toe” of the running blade because that will give the most energy return from that position (the toe is the apex of curve on the blade). Too far forward and your knee might drop; too far behind and your knee will be straightened rather abruptly.
As an above knee amputee, the mechanics are going to function differently. You’ll need to utilize your hips more to swing the leg back into the forward position. However this is going to be dependent on the type of knee you have and the type of foot. If you’re using the Cheetah running blade with a prosthetic knee the foot strike is the same – you want to make sure you’re hitting the ground with the “toe”. And if all else fails record yourself and get some feedback from your prosthetist or a physical therapist who is comfortable with running and prosthetics. – Pablo F.
2. Suggestions for hiking on uneven surfaces for a bk amputee?
It starts with a good fitting artificial leg. The best suggestion is really just getting out there walking/practicing on the uneven surfaces. The best teacher is to fall on your face a few times. – Jeff G.
3. What are the best options for a climbing prosthetic, including shoe?
The Eldo Z Axis works great in a variety of different surfaces and terrain. It bolts onto a pyramid with one wrench and is easy to deal with. You can also buy just the shoe from Evolv and put it on a cut down satch foot. – Craig D.
When I started I just used my everyday leg with normal climbing shoes. A few months ago I went to ASTEP Ahead Prosthetics and had a climb foot made. – Jeff G.
4. How do you find other adaptive climbers or athletes to go on adventures with?
Start by attending some Paradox events or clinics…..or reach out to people on Facebook. – Jeff G.
I made many friends through Paradox Sports & stayed in touch with many of them after the events. I think participating in Paradox events are great way to make new friends which will help for future adventures. – Aika Y.
5. What’s the best response when someone comes up to you in the gym gym and tells you that you’re inspirational?
This has happened to me only a handful of times, and it always catches me by surprise, but I handle it depending on the situation. I will usually thank the person – since I know they are being nice and there’s no malicious intent – and then I change the subject to climbing, in general. It’s not always easy but I’ll do my best to redirect the conversation. I don’t do this because I necessarily feel self-conscious, but because, to me, I do not define myself as an amputee, or adaptive athlete. In my mind, I am a climber, artist, surfer, etc… who happens to be missing his hand – it’s only one aspect of who I am and not my whole being. – Jon S.
If someone at the gym says you are an inspiration…..take it as a compliment….Smile and say “Thank you” – Jeff G.
I say, “THANK YOU! I just really enjoy what I do and have a great group of friends who have supported me to get back to climbing.” – Aika Y.
6. What’s your process for trying out a new sport? Do you try without adaptations first?
I usually will do my best to try a new activity without any adaptations. I do this so I learn what adaptations or adjustments are absolutely necessary to do to successfully participate in an activity. For example, when I picked up surfing a few years ago I went out on a relatively small day with friends that were experienced surfers in case I got into trouble. I learned very quickly that without two hands to paddle out or duck dive under the waves with I will get tossed around like a rag doll. Plus, I would expend most of my energy getting out past the white water to where I could actually catch a wave. After about a year of trying to surf sans two hands, I was lucky enough to get a prosthetic that was made for surfing. Although I’m still a much better climber, it is way easier to paddle out and to catch a wave with two hands and not only one. – Jon S.
I love trying out new sports….went from wheelchair basketball, ironman triathlon now to Mountaineering/climbing. With the exception of wheelchair basketball….I approached the new sport as abled bodied athlete….then as I really understood my needs…I got artificial legs made to help me become more efficient. – Jeff G.
I tried ice climbing last year for the first time. My injury is still new (less than 2yrs), so I’m still learning my own body/limitations. I like to work with people who have a great experience in that particular sport & allow me to work together to find out what works best for me. I rather not use adaptive equipment at first to find out my options & abilities. – Aika Y.
7. How can I be as cool as Dan Boozan?
I didn’t know Dan Boozan was cool! – Anonymous
Not possible. – Anonymous
Do you have more questions that weren’t answered here? Leave them in the comments below.