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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On the Right Leg and Work at the Gym

Yesterday afternoon I had another appointment with Paul, the physical therapist. Almost immediately I asked him about the difficulties I am having in my right leg. He said it may be because I am not putting my full weight on the left leg, so the right is picking up too much. I said no, I am not skimping on using my full weight on the left. So he suggested that I try using my cane in the other hand for a few days to see if the legs can even out the load. I'm trying that.

He worked on pressing the knee down more, then flexing it, then pressing, then flexing. Most of the work initially was on straightening the knee. At the end of this part of the session he measured the range of motion and the extension - I am up to about 122 degrees flex and down to -5 degrees extension. That last five degrees reminds me of "that last five pounds". The hardest to get rid of.

The rest of the workout involved machines: the Total Gym, which allows me to do a modified squat, without putting my full weight on my legs, first. I found it harder to do for some reason, than last time. But certainly easier to get to a lower squat than I can do on the leg press at the gym. Following the squats I did leg curls, then leg extensions. And here a difference: Paul went to a class within the last six months and learned that doing a full extension (pushing all the way up and forcing it) on the leg extension machine is not advisable. Because the feet are not grounded, not carrying weight, there is a chance of damaging other parts of the leg, as I understand it. So he said to go about 3/4 - maybe 7/8 - of the way up, do not extend fully using that machine.

Then the bike, ten minutes at level 5 as compared to fifteen at level 4, which I did handily, again, averaging probably 65 rotations per minute. I guess that's hardly fast, is it?? But good enough. Lastly I got the stim machine again, this time both legs, ten minutes of straightening both for ten seconds on, ten seconds off. I'm glad we're paying some extra attention to the right leg too now.

I told Paul I'd be meeting with trainer Clara soon and what might I tell her about what I can work on. He said the extension (as explained), the bike of course, the leg press - but ask if there is another piece of equipment similar to the Total Gym for that. And he said she can call him. I felt like he was more open to my using the gym this time than the last time I asked, probably because I said the name Clara. She can make sure I don't hurt myself.

I made my way home stiffly, as usual. What will I do when I no longer have a physical therapist to look forward to? Honestly, it's going to be hard!  I am so glad that I have managed to stretch it out as long as I have.

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