Saturday, March 07, 2009

Working on Walking

Imagine telling a toddler who is learning to walk to push off with his foot in the back of his stride, to use his calf muscle more. I had three PT experts analyzing my gait today and figuring out why my right shin had been hurting when I walked without my cool cane.

As I try to wean myself from the cane, I had become increasingly bothered by a pain in my shin just at the point where my right leg received the most weight in my stride. It was like a sudden weakness that made me always want to have my cane handy just in case my leg decided to collapse.

It’s somewhat ironic that my hip seems to be relatively painfree in all this, but I have come to learn that all the parts are intricately connected and they will complain if stressed.

I first worked with Makenzie, who immediately noted that I was stiffening my right leg and not pushing off with my right foot as the left foot went out front. She put me on a slowly moving treadmill to take a closer look. At one point she had my left leg stationary on the frame while the right leg “walked”.

She gave me an exercise with a Theraband to strengthen my ankles and increase their range of motion.

Then Christina, my usual PT, took over to put me through a series of stretching exercises. She was pleased that I could still manage to pull up my right knee to around 90 degrees, meaning my hip flexion was adequate.

Our mutual acquaintance Quentin had agreed to stop by during today’s PT session to watch me walk. He was the only one who knew what my gait used to look like. He and Christina spent a long time observing and trying various things to refine my greatly improved gait. By the end I was walking easily with no pain and NO CANE!

I was struck by the fact that I was being taught to walk in such a different way than a baby learns to take his first steps. One difference being that fact that I cannot afford to fall down in the process of learning.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? This old dog is working hard to internalize and master Walking 101.


Blogger Kristin said...

The gray cloud of your fall definitely seems to have a silver lining. No pain? Improved gait? I'm happy for you.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- It has been a pleasant surprise to say the least. It was fun today playing the laboratory rat!

8:53 PM  
Blogger Fire Byrd said...

walking and pain free, what could be better?

4:40 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

"No pain, no cane!" I love that little pun. Glad things are improving. :)

8:24 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Fire Byrd, Steve -- Life is actually very good. I have no complaints!

11:27 AM  
Blogger Squirrel said...

Thanks for mentioning therabands -- reminds me to get my bands out--I Love to stretch with them and am overdue for a band session.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I am so full of empathy and compassion that reading about your struggles actually made my teeth hurt. How crazy is that?

Like Steve I love the "No pain, No cane!" pun. Clever, clever.

Happy that things are improving.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Squirrel -- Therabands are an excellent invention!

Steve, Gary -- No pun was actually intended! I'm not that clever. It just came out that way...

9:58 PM  

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