April is limb loss awareness month. And so over the next 30 days, I will provide you with your daily dose of information, inspiration, and opportunities to get engaged in activities - all around the issue of limb loss, limb difference, and creating a community. So lean back and enjoy!
Walking is great - even for people with a lower limb difference. No matter if a stroll in the local part or a multi-day trek through the Pyrenees. Modern prosthetic devices, good shoes, and some high-quality trekking poles mixed in with a bit of training and a confident 'I can do this' attitude is all you need. If you want to learn more about how to get started with hiking as an amputee, check out the numerous articles on this blog. And here is one to get you started: Hiking Poles - The Best Thing Since Slices Bread. And another one talking about gear: Hiking as an Above-Knee Amputee
It's been five years ago that I hit the 'publish' button on the first three articles and put them out there for people to read. By the end of the day I had about 20 visitors to my name, most of them family and friends. A humble start, but I was brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. And so an incredible journey started. Now - five years, 200+ articles, 30 podcast episodes, the on-and-off Youtube video, and countless peer consultations plus the recent start of the German edition of this resource service later - the project is doing well and keeps me busy (as I run The Active Amputee in my spare time). So, here is to you, The Active Amputee: "Happy birthday and all the best!"
Prosthetic devices have moved out of the 'boring and functional' corner and into the limelight. They now look cool. And with an ever-increasing range of prosthetic covers, you also have the opportunity to personalize your prosthesis and express your style. Here are some articles to get you started: Pimp my Prosthesis and Amazing Prosthetic Covers by ALLELES.
Climbing is an amazing sport. Full stop. No matter if you are into bouldering or top-roped routes at a local climbing wall, prefer pre-bolted sport routes outdoors or love the thrill of proper multi-pitch trad climbing or a deep-water solo, the sport has something for everybody. And I mean everybody, no matter if you are able-bodied (what ever that is) or not. Here is a simple 10-step-guide to get into this amazing sport.
Patrice Méaume - who passed away in late 2019 - was an amazing graphic designer who challenger stereotypes and widely-held beliefs. He was one of a number of artists who moved issues around limb differences centre-stage and into the spotlights. And he was personally affected by limb loss and made his golden prosthetic hand his trademark. Here is an article about Patrice.
Erin Ball is an amazing performing artist from Canada with a wicked sense of humor. A double amputee herself, she runs a circus school. Here is an article about Erin.
It's great to have amputee dad. Yes, there are limitations when you are an amputee. And being around active kids often points them out. but many of them are a matter of attitude and can be overcome with a bit of creativity and a trial-and-error approach. And the other limitations just have to be accepted. It's as simple as that. Here is an article about being an amputee dad.
Do a search on books by people with a limb difference and you will be surprised by the amount of titles out there. From biographies to adventure books, from travel writing to self-help, from yoga guides to comic books. Here is an article about five of these books.
Yes, The Active Amputee continues to grow as a resource hub for people with a limb difference. Next to the original blog - with more than 170 articles - there is also a podcast show. Here is a link to the show on all your favorite pod catchers.
Infotainment at its best: There are amazing TED-talks by amputees out there. Informative, thought-provoking, funny, and life-affirming. Here are some of my personal top picks.
Summer is coming and with the warmer days there are more opportunities to be active as an amputee. Kayaking is an ideal outdoor activity for lower limb amputees. Give it a try and see for yourself. Or read this article first.
More ideas to be active in, on, and around the water. No matter your limb difference, there is something for all of us. For example surfing, as Dani's story proves.
Living an active and rewarding life as an amputee. Here are some impressions what my life is all about.
There is an ever-increasing number of children's books that talk about limb loss, disability, and inclusion. And that's the way it should be. Here is a great example about Mosha The Amputee Elephant.
There is a global community of people affected by limb loss and limb differences. And the members of this community are immensely supportive of each other. It's encouraging to see how people from all around the globe connect for mutual support, peer mentoring, and the sharing of life hacks on issues related to their limb difference and beyond.
Finally available: A simple charging device for micro-processor knees that connects to a normal power bank. That is a game changer for many active amputees as it allows us to be off the beaten track for longer stretches at a time. Here are some first impressions about the charging device.
Embarking on a longer journey as an amputee can be intimidating. Taking your first long-haul flight or your first trip to an unknown location often demands special preparations for people with a disability. But don't let this put you off traveling. There are special resource pages out there with plenty of tested advice. And don't be afraid to ask around in the limb-difference community. Many of us are seasoned globetrotters and are always willing to share our knowledge. Here is more travel advice.
Sepsis is a major cause for limb loss. When a patient suffers from sepsis, excessive blood clots slow the flow of blood throughout the body, leading to severe tissue damage often resulting in an amputation. Here is the story of Wendi, a sepsis survivor and mother of three.
Our constant focus on the latest prosthetic developments coupled with our aspirations to get the latest high-end products on the market lets us forget one important aspect: The prosthesis is only as good as the system by which it is connected to the human body. In the end it's the socket that makes all the difference. Here is a story on the search for the Holy Grail; i.e. an amazing socket.
Even if a socket is normally fitting well, if an amputee is used to getting into your prosthesis in the morning and taking it off when he/she is about to go to bed, there might be days when a person affected by limb loss is on crutches - either by choice, because the residual limb asked for some time off, or the prosthesis is for maintenance or repair. But that does not mean that the level of activity needs to go down - as so many amputees prove day in day out. Andreas, the bionic pilgrim, is one of these amazing examples what is possible on crutches.
Today's tip brings back memories from childhood: Riding a kick scooter and whizzing through the village I grew up in. And while not the most obvious mode of transport for above knee amputees, riding a kick scooter is possible - and great fun. Here are three lessons learned from my initial attempts.
Winter can be a scary time for people from the limb loss and limb difference community. Icy conditions make walking more challenging and potentially more dangerous. So for many of us, winter is a time when we are less active. But winter can also be a season where you explore new activities and discover the beauty of something new. If you need inspiration, check out the films by Vasu Sojitra and the program of Paradox Sports.
This tip is inspired by my work as a trustee for EVERYBODY DANCE, a UK-based charity that aims to inspire, explore, and create great dance experiences with disabled and non-disabled people of all ages in unexpected spaces. It's been one of the most amazing and most creative organizations I have been involved with and I hope that one day I can bring a group of amputees from Germany for a week of aerial dance and aerial yoga. To learn more, check out the EVERYBODY DANCE homepage.
Today's post comes with a call to action. Having lived and worked in many countries of the global south, this topic is even closer to my heart than the others. I am fully aware that many people with disabilities have neither the access to a health system nor the support by experienced professionals that we in Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia regularly enjoy. But each and every one of us can help to address this inequality by donating used components that are in good conditions and fully functioning. These prosthetic components can help others to be mobile again. ROMP is a pioneer in this field and leads by example. Learn more about their Components for a Cause project.
Skin irritations, sore spots, blisters, and the like on the residual limb are a constant companion for many amputees. All of us have different approaches to deal with these issues. Some have developed complex skin care routines, others don't give them a second thought until the problem is acute and needs attention. There is no one size fits all solution. Play around with different approaches, ask others, share your experiences, and then develop something that works for you.
info sessions in schools. What a great way to combine positive social change, infotainment, and having a great time with a group of interested and very curios kids. Here in the post about inclusion in action are some hands-on and tested tips to start doing something similar.
Let’s face it. Many of us are drowning in emails, have an almost endless list of ‚I should really read this article’ items, while simultaneously trying to keep up with interesting trends and new developments on social media and the news. So finding the right newsletters can be tedious. To make things easier for you, I had a look at a whole range of newsletters, assessed their content for relevance and quality of information, and then eliminated one after another from my list so that in the end there was only one newsletter left. So if you only sign up to one of these newsletters, you might want to check out the winner of my - admittedly very personal - selection process. Here are my front-runners.
ROMP, the Range of Motions Project, premiers its new documentary today. This is the latest release in a long row of amazing videos about people with disabilities. All of them make one thing clear: Everything is possible. Identify your next goal, think about possible ways to get there, break them down into doable chunks and just give it a go. Strongly believe that you can do it. Forget about norms and expectations, about the so-called normal. Be proud of your difference as it’s these differences that make this world such a colourful and awesome place. And you will see: A door opens to a completely new world way beyond your wildest imaginations. Want more ideas of what to watch? Then read this article.
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This page is made by amputees. And it is made for amputees and their families. The Active Amputee wants to enable you to make informed decisions by providing unbiased information. The Active Amputee wants to inspire action through the sharing of stories. And the Active Amputee wants to build a community of active amputees by encouraging engagement and mutual support. Nothing more, nothing less. It‘s as easy and simple as that.
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