Premier Prosthetics & Orthotics Blog 

Being Athletic with a Prosthetic Limb

June 16, 2021
Last month, we discussed the struggles and preparations associated with prosthesis maintenance for active lifestyles. Following the theme of preparation (a quality which is very important when it comes to taking care of your prosthetic), today is all about a very particular kind of activity… being at the beach! There’s a lot involved with this vacation pastime and before we begin, a quick disclaimer is in order: if your prosthesis isn’t certified waterproof or water resistant, then it is not advisable to enter the ocean with your prosthetic limb!
With that out of the way, let’s discuss what you should be aware of next time you plan your beach trip.

Location, Location, Location

The golden rule behind making your coastal fun-day actually fun and not a nightmare is choosing the right place to set up shop! Compared to other venues, the beach is a very dynamic environment, and taking the time to make sure your slice of coastline is just right can benefit you greatly. Let’s dive into what you should keep in mind when scouting out the right spot.
  • Rocky shores and lots of debris are a no-go. This tip goes double for those adventurous spirits out there. Sure, it may look cool, but finding out the terrain is too rough when you’re right in the middle of it is a recipe for disaster.
  • Sand dunes turn a walk into a climb. As pretty as they are, sand dunes are a lot harder to traverse than flat ground. Not to mention dunes are typically formed by “loose” sand, making them not only annoying but also a safety hazard.
  • Look for “packed” sand. Find yourself some ground that your shoes aren’t prone to sinking into. If you can hear a sucking sound every time you lift your foot, then you’re on uneven ground! All it takes is one misstep and you’ve got a face full of sand.

A Prosthesis’ Worst Nightmare

If it weren’t for the fact that keeping your prosthetic limb clean should already be in the back of your mind, it would far and away be the golden rule for your beach trip. There are two things that will damage your prosthesis more than anything else: corrosive saltwater and grating sand. Unfortunately, both of these things are unavoidable facts of beach life.
Don’t let this discourage you, though! The same principles that get you through everyday maintenance will get you through your beach trip cleaner than ever. You are, however, going to have to be much more rigorous with your cleaning. If you’ve had experience with freshwater or rainwater getting trapped in your prosthesis, then rest assured saltwater is even worse. Not only is it more corrosive than regular water, but when left to air dry it will leave behind salty deposits that can cause further damage. Then there’s the sand, which is harder and coarser than regular dirt. If sandpaper comes to mind, then good— those little granules can shave plastic, wood, and even metal when given enough contact. Do yourself a favor, and don’t let the elements wear your prosthetic limb down!
The beach should be fun for everyone, and our team at Premier Prosthetic and Orthotics wants you to be able to join in on the fun. Whether you’re combing the shore for seashells or taking a full-on dive in the water, we’ve got your back on your next vacation! Contact us at 314-262-8900 or for more information on how you can make the most out of your next beach trip.
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