Friday, April 4, 2014

Surgical Shoe Workout

As you may have read in my last post, I am wearing a surgical shoe on my left foot for the next two weeks to aid in recovery from bone bruising. I have been struggling with this foot issue since mid-February and am glad to be taking the steps I need to recover. Wearing the surgical shoe has had a dramatic impact on my life. I am supposed to do what’s called graduated walking, where I step the shoe forward and then bring my good foot to meet it. Initially I was glad to avoid crutches, but this style of walking is excruciatingly slow and has caused some soreness in my legs.

The first day I came in to work wearing the shoe I realized how much slower I really am. A one minute walk to the bathroom now takes at least 3 minutes. The elevators are located at the opposite side of the building from the parking lot entrance and it takes me about 8 minutes to get from my car to my desk. One of my co-workers was gracious enough to bring me an old pair of crutches and I have been using them at work because they’re much faster. I will likely bring them home this weekend to aid in whatever I decide to do.

This short experience with being unable to walk properly has made me extremely grateful that I am normally physically able to do whatever I ask of my body. I have a renewed sense of compassion for those who cannot, and am more aware of how difficult it can be to navigate public spaces when you are disabled. My father had a serious stroke last May and is probably going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. I know that when I see him next I’ll be much more empathetic and more willing to put in extra effort to assist him.

It’s also interesting to see how people react to those who are injured/handicapped. I work in a community college library and have been amazed both by how kind people have been and how self-absorbed they have been. Some people go out of their way to hold doors or ask sympathetic questions and others make no effort to move out of the way when I come crutching through. It makes me sad to see people with so little regard for others, but fortunately those observations have been much less frequent than the helpful people.

Of course this has also impacted my workout schedule. Prior to my injury I was running 3-4 days per week, road cycling once per week and strength training 2-3 times per week. I continued road cycling when I first had to stop running but think that may have contributed to my injury. I have switched to strength training 3-4 times per week and can cycle but only at the gym. The surgical shoe has made me skip the gym during the mornings before work because the extra time I need to get around isn't amenable to my work schedule. I plan to go there this weekend for cycling and strength training. I've developed a nice little workout I can do without putting weight on my foot (beyond moving from one exercise to the next) and wanted to share with anyone else going through the same challenge.

Surgical Shoe Workout

When I do this at the gym I use more weight (I only have a set of 15lb and 8lb dumbbells) and I add in machine exercises like the leg curl, lateral pull down, assisted pull ups and hanging knee/straight leg raises. I am happy that I’m able to keep some fitness but can’t wait to be on my feet again!

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