Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Un-learning How to Walk

I had a set-back today on the road to recovery--I've a torn quadriceps tendon in my left knee--2/3rds--and the surgeon said it would heal back just as good as if he was to go in there and stitch it up.  Not bad and I was feeling pretty lucky.  Surgery meant a longer recovery by many months.

After I got off crutches and gained confidence walking--albeit with an awkward limp--gradually that limp faded and I felt normal.  But still there were times where my leg just seemed to want to give way.

Today I had an errand on the KU Campus and I had to walk about a quarter of a mile--I almost didn't make it mes amis.  About half way through, my jerky limp began to return and I was getting tired.  Really the limp never went away; it just became less noticeable.  I think I ignored or tried to be as normal walking as possible.

I made it to my physical therapy later in the afternoon after the errand, described the situation to Dorian, my new physical therapist (my other ones have moved to the next town) and, well, after running me through the exercises and resistance moves--she had me walking in the halls to diagnose the problem.

So now I'm walking with a cane.

At first I felt this was a bit of a shock--but after a bit of explanation and coaching, yeah she was right--things were out of whack.  Other stronger muscles are making up for the still weak quads--and hip muscles.  I was walking with a slight jerk and locking my hip and knee--doing this automatically and causing muscle that  needs to be strong, to fade and shrink.  Not good says Dorian and she explained I'll blow my knee out if I continue to walk like I am.

I have to un-learn how I'm walking.  I have to use a cane to engage the right muscles and walk with a normal gait.  I need to take that slight bit of weight off my hip and transfer it to my right wrist.

I was amazed how much easier it was to walk with the cane, Gentle Reader of Blog, after I saw and felt the mechanics of what was happening to me.

Just not quite there with the recovery.  But it did feel better to walk normal and without the jerky movement I had been trying to cover up (compensate for).  I was at the point in my recovery where other stronger muscles were taking over and giving me the appearance of walking normal--but at the same time, this kind of walking was wearing me down.

But I am able to ride my bike to work--I'll be able to go out and ride the weekend with the club--that matters to me a lot...

Cheers!  Bruce

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