I am now nine weeks out from my surgery and, as I mentioned in a previous post, finally out of the brace.
In many ways, my situation is a nice metaphor for our economic situation. Both disasters resulted from poor planning and poor choices. In my case, going up a ladder during a rainstorm. In the case of the economy, thinking that all sorts of clever repackaging and esoteric mathematics would magically generate money (plus lots of other bad ideas, greed, and so on). Both disasters crippled a once healthy being. In my case, me. In the economic case, the US economy. One important difference is that my accident did not hurt anyone else-there the metaphor breaks. But it fits again when we turn to the matter of recovery. Like me, the economy is looking better, although a long road lies ahead. My situation is, of course, much better: there are clear and obvious things that I can do that will certainly help me recover. In the case of the economy, the solutions are not so obvious. Mainly it seems like people are guessing, resorting to ideology, and relying on blind luck to make things better.
Speaking of the means of recovery, I have quite a set of exercises that I doing. In addition to the original exercises described in an earlier post, I now have the following new stuff:
While I can only peddle fully with one foot, I now get to work my bad knee. What I do is use my good leg to push down on the peddle, thus lifting up my bad leg and stretching the knee. I can see how far away I am from being able to peddle properly-so close. So very close. Of course, even when I get that ROM, I’ll still have to go with low resistance.
This involves sitting down and placing my feet on the ground. I then lift my heel up to stretch the knee and strengthen the calf. I also do calf exercises standing up. I’ve been doing these since I could stand again, so they are in decent shape.
These are supposed to strengthen the muscles that control the “rotation” of my lower leg. To do these, I lie on my side with my knees bent and do four different exercises. In the first one, I have my legs touching and lift my left knee up while keeping my feet touching. In the second one, my knees stay touching and I rotate my leg so that my foot goes up. In the third and fourth exercises, I make the same motions only with my left leg lifted up in the air. When I first tried this, it was rather pathetic, but now my strength is improving.
I also do knee bend with my right foot off the ground. This is intended to strengthen the muscles and also help restore balance. I am supposed to do very shallow “dips” and do so-I don’t want to rip my tendon again.
I also do what we call a horse stance in tae kwon do. I lean against an interior door (because it is flat and slick) with my legs like I am riding a horse. I then bend my knees to lower myself, using mainly my good knee. As I get stronger, I am supposed to use my bad knee more.
I’ve added some exercises of my own in the form of standing leg lifts. I lift the leg to the front, to the side, and also to the back. This will help restore the muscles that connect to the hip. This also seems to be helping me with walking. I have also tried doing some very, very slow kicks with the bad leg-mainly to see how much I’ve lost and how far I have to go to get back to normal.
This one is a bit Karate Kid: I stand on my bad leg, bending the knee slightly. I stand for several minutes, working on restoring my balance. While my knee is still weak (or rather the quadriceps is weak) my balance is coming back quite well. It helps that I had good balance before, thanks to twenty years of martial arts.
I have had running injuries before, so I knew that I would need to retrain my muscles to move normally again. Part of the challenge is physical-restoring strength and balance to the body. Part of it is psychological-I became habituated to walking a certain way due to the injury. To get back to normal, I walk forwards and backwards, focusing on bending my knee and having proper form. You’d think this would be easy-I’ve walked countless miles and run thousands of miles. But, the body seems to “forget” quickly and getting it retrained seems to be a slow process. But, my progress is good.
I have six weeks of light PT-that is, PT designed to restore range of motion and some strength. After six weeks I can start doing more serious recovery. However, I am being sensible and cautious about this. I have convinced myself that it is better to get back to running a few weeks later by being cautious than to risk tearing the tendon again by being stupid and rushing things. How do I do this? Well, I just think about what I had to go through to get to this point. I sure as hell don’t want to go through all that again. I hope that the folks who wrecked the economy feel the same way. Somehow I doubt it-I suspect that many of them would (and will) do it all again. It seems to be a matter of pain-experiencing it yourself makes you inclined to not go through it again. If only those financial folks all felt the pain they inflicted on everyone else.
Now, I turn to how to fix the economy…rats, I’ve run out of time. Um, buy stuff. Yeah, that should do it.