University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute
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Amputee Walking School Teaches Advanced Walking and Running Skills to People with Lower Limb Amputation


Some participants at UM Rehab & Ortho's Amputee Walking School, like this girl, learned running techniques. Take a look.

University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute Offers Interactive Training with Two Former Paralympic Athletes

For someone who has lost a foot or leg, getting a prosthetic device is just the beginning of the road to personal mobility. Learning to walk correctly on an artificial limb requires mastering a unique set of balancing skills and muscle coordination. Running on a prosthesis takes a different set of skills and strength.

On Saturday, May 31, the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute offered a free advanced amputee walking clinic featuring two former Paralympic athletes. Todd Schaffhauser and Dennis Oehler trained participants in progressive gait and walking techniques, and people with more advanced skills can also learn about running on a prosthesis.

More than 110 attendees, including people with amputations, family members and therapists, worked work through a series of exercise stations, including a balance beam and core board, mastering skills such as bending down and jumping. The exercises showed participants how to increase flexibility and strength while improve their walking ability, which can lead to greater confidence, mobility and independence.

The program evolved from Schaffhauser and Oehler’s own experiences training and competing in the Paralympic Games, an international Olympic-style multi-sport competition for athletes with a range of physical disabilities. Over the past 20 years, they have helped thousands of people with amputations to get stronger and improve their walking and running gait.