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Stump Pain and the Art of ART

Published on: May 20th, 2011

Photo by Joe Hodgson

Paul Martin knows pain.

But often, it’s a different type of pain than most able-bodied athletes deal with. Stump pain happens because of damaged nerves near the site of the amputation. “It’s so much more frequent and debilitating than normal muscle pain,” he said. “It overrides everything.” He also gets massive blisters on his stump, which leave him unable to run for days.

He’s learned specific tricks, including special bandaging or finding better-fitting prosthetics, and he’ll swim and cycle on days when he needs to go easy on his stump.

Martin is a big fan of active release technique, commonly known as ART. ART is the analysis and treatment—by hand—of soft tissue impacted by overuse and injury, helping to release the tightness of the tissue. It’s kind of like massage and can be used to treat everything from plantar fasciitis to tendonitis.

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