Too much too soon

Ahh it was all going well.. getting rid of the crutches for short distances, even some longer hobbles, (or wobbles as I currently walk with a certain weebleness about me!).  Anywho I went and overdid it again – My man and I had spent a lovely week on holiday in Wales on the Pembrokeshire coast; the sea was just too tempting, so armed with a surfboards off we went (or toddled in my case), fairly soon I realised this was a mistake and the next day swapped the surfboard for a body board. It was so good to be able to play in the waves again (I am neither graceful or skilled at body/surf boarding but love being in the water). I enjoyed myself way too much though and have been paying for it ever since. Fortunately not in bone pain, but in muscle pain. I say fortunately in that my bones seem to have stood up to the waves bashing them, but my hip flexor in particular did not take kindly to the strain.  I never knew muscle pains could be so bad!  Spasms and cramps almost reducing me to tears on the odd occasion and the sudden twanging of muscles as I tried to stretch them out were all a surprise.  My PT has been hit and  miss, having one fella leave, another start for one session, then leave and now I have another newbie to see on Thurs.   Ho hum… anyone have any ideas of how to fix over exerted and grumpy muscles?  I’ve tried massaging, stretching, heat, ice and painkillers, oh and some rest which seems to be the best medicine, but doesn’t work as quickly as I want it to!

I also had another check up at the hospital a coupla weeks ago – X-rays are looking good and everyone is pleased with my bones healing. My leg length discrepancy is a different story though – so far it’s been measured at anything from a minor 1cm to a rather alarming 1.8cms.  Panic set in after a conversation with a lovely ‘patient appliances’ Dr who told me that I’d need to go and get some granny style shoes that could be built up as I needed at least an extra 18mm on my left shoe. He wasn’t quite so blunt and was very professional, but once I’d left his office it did reduce me to tears of frustration. I’d also been told in response to the age old question “What/where should my recovery be by now? Should I have crutches any more?” that if people could tell from my walk that I’d had an op that I’d still need crutches, and that was that.   Hmm not so helpful.    I did hobble back to see the lovely Orthapedic nurse Michelle who is brilliant and made me feel human again by taking time out to chat and took another look at my X-rays. What I really need is some gait work, but due to massive muscle pains, and lack of PT I haven’t really started this yet. Fingers crossed the new physio will hang around for a bit so I can get a better idea of what I should/shouldn’t be doing – I’ve a sneaky suspicion playing in the sea isn’t high up the list of things to do!

I’ve just re-read this posting and it sounds awfully negative, but that’s not how I’m feeling about the whole thing really. I’m just impatient and expect too much from my poor healing hip, Since the op I’ve only had 4 days where the pain has been horrid, I get about without crutches most of the time and the soreness I had in the joint pre op isn’t there any more so things are on the up.  Ohh speaking of which a fantastic friend of mine bought me a great book called; Healing Hip, Joint and Knee Pain: A Mind-body Guide to Recovering from Surgery and and Injuries by Kate O’Shea. It’s worth a read pre or post surgery, it’s  about getting in tune with your body as it goes through changes, it’s got a hippy vibe about it and is easy to read, so get out some candles and have some alone time with those poorly joints.

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3 Responses to Too much too soon

  1. Kate says:

    Hiya,

    Dunno if any of this will help, but I found walking in the pool really concentrating on your gait helped a lot, also I switched to a walking stick (which I hated) but that helped strengthen everything because it gives a little support, enough to stop the limping,but makes the muscles work more than a crutch. I kept it folded in my handbag and just used it when I started to limp more as the muscles got tired.
    Kate x

  2. Katie says:

    Hi,
    I’m sorry you’ve got the whole leg-length discrepancy to deal with now. I’m contemplating a PAO/FO, but that should actually correct my leg length discrepancy. I’ve had a 17mm difference in my leg lengths for as long as I could walk due to damage to the hip associated with the CHD. I learned to walk without a lift or anything as it’s always been this way, but finally tried using a lift in my shoe in my 20’s. Even though my body was used to one leg shorter than the other I found that the lift made a huge difference in how my weaker leg felt – the hip gets a lot less tired now. It took a couple weeks adjusting to get used to the lift (you’d probably adjust faster being used to equal legs!), but then walking was much easier/more even gait. Also, I found that I didn’t need to correct the whole discrepancy. Just bringing them to within 1cm worked wonders. And that you can do by putting an insert in your shoe!! As loong as your shoes have deeper heel wells, you can put up to a cm or so lift inside the shoe under your heel. Then you can wear all your normal shoes. I really like the clearly adjustable lifts – not sure if you can get them in the UK? – but they are clear plastic and made up of 1mm layers that peel apart or stick together. So you can adjust the height of the lift. And the plastic doesn’t compress like cork lifts and is more stable (import if you’re wobbly or are putting them in shoes to do sports). Also, if you have shoes that don’t have a deep enough heel well for 1cm, you can peel off a few layers and put in as much as will fit (and keep you from walking out of your shoes) so that you can still have a little bit of a lift in your dress shoes and be comfortable. It’s not completely invisible in sandals, but most people won’t notice and there’s no need for granny shoes!
    Good luck!
    Katie

  3. hobblinghelly says:

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for your advice, I’ve got a walking stick which I tried out a while ago, I used it too soon cos I still needed support from the crutches, but it could be time to bring it out again! Did you get any muscle spasms? Mine seem to be unwilling to subside completely and are impeeding my strengthening exercises, hurumph!

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