Monday, November 28, 2011

Slowly But Surely

Getting Back to Normal As I Can Be

Note the "I can be" part of the title, please. My knees are still not perfect. Both of them still have some stiffness and a bit of soreness in them due to the internal swelling and, of course, all the "stuff" done to them during surgery. I don't want anyone to think that going on three months from my surgery I am 100% free from any discomfort.  I have been told that it will be at least 6 weeks before my left knee is fully recovered--that from my surgeon. But I'm not sure what that means. Already, my knee is nearly where it was before I went off the horse. Does that 6 weeks mean it will be wonderful?

I'm walking a little slowly still, and I'm certainly not ready to run. However, I did push the nearly full wheelbarrow yesterday and it was OK, although my knees complained a bit more last night than I would have liked. But, like exercises in rehab, that is the consequence of using muscles that just aren't in shape. To some degree, the phrase, "No pain, no gain," does apply. But that does not mean you should be feeling pain during the exercises. Pain is a warning that something is being overstressed. But "soreness" after proper exercise is expected. Muscle tissue has to be stressed, and often 24-48 hours after exercise will experience soreness.  (We need to remember this for our horses too, by the way!!)

The good thing about my knees is that, in general, if I start off again slowly and get the blood flowing into the joints, most of the soreness goes away and I am able to continue on my merry way.  I have already noticed that each day, I can do just a little more with each leg. For example: My right knee was always the worst one of the two before surgery. As a result, I became very "left leg dominant."  After surgery, my left leg was the better of my two legs, so the left leggedness continued. Now, however, because I fell on my left leg, my right leg has had to "take over" as the strong leg. At first, depending on my right leg was a challenge. Now, however, my right leg pulls me up the step into the barn just fine, even with a few flakes of hay in my arms. Then too, I caught myself using my left leg to go up one of the steps as well, meaning that my left knee is pretty well recovered from the fall. And all this after being back off the crutches for less than four days.

Another bit of interesting information is that standing up taller and with good posture also helps walking. The same is true when using the crutches, which is why the elbow crutches work so much better for me.
I am much less likely to bend over using them and I have much more mobility than with crutches that go under my armpits. 

And....I have also found that Skechers Shape-Ups are really good shoes for my joints. I discovered this on a shopping trip many months before my surgery when I was so knee sore after walking a lot that I was about to give up on going into the last store I needed to visit. I'd bought a pair of Shape-Ups and decided to give them a try. Suddenly, I was able to walk again with hardly any pain. Amazing. Now, they also seem to make a big difference with my new knees. The rocking/rolling action of the foot really seems to help ease the concussion of walking. 
I have these in several colors at this point and wear them all the time. They are not exactly the most elegant "dress shoes," of course, but for slacks and jeans, they are perfect. I know pointy toes and heels are the fashion, but I'd rather sacrifice in order to be stable on my feet, safe, and comfortable.  Obviously, they are no good for riding--might even be dangerous in the stirrup--but my Ariats work well for that and have built in support too. 

I still have my horsesitter coming in the afternoon to clean the stalls and feed the Boys, but as of today, I am doing both morning and late night feeds again. I'm not sure the Boys missed me, but I'd like to think that my appearance out there means just a little more to them than buckets of grain and hay. *lol*

I brushed everyone off the other day, but it's kind of like trying to hold back the ocean. They looked just as muddy as they'd been by the next day.  I guess rolling in the dirt--fortunately mostly the sandy arena--just feels too good. The problem is that with their winter coats, the dirt gets pretty deep and it's almost impossible to get them really clean. Tucker, the bay, seems to be the easiest to make presentable. Chance is in second place, and Toby is in third tending to look like a "dustball" no matter what I do.  I do have a horse vacuum I can use if need be, but as long as they are happy, what's a little dust?  

Soon we will be into blanket season anyhow and then I stand a chance.  We're not planning on going anywhere formal anyhow, so it's just fine. 

After all, what's a little mud between friends? 


  1. Anonymous11:37 AM

    Glad you're getting around better - pretty soon you'll be riding again.

    Dawn is already muddy on both sides today, and I wouldn't be surprised if both Pie and Drifter join in too - although Pie prefers rolling in his gravel so mostly gets dusty. I never begrudge them the dirt - it means they're happy horses.

  2. I'm happy to hear that you're getting around and feeling a bit better. I think everyone heals differently. I remember going to PT for quite a few months each week and doing the exercises at home. Lots of stretching and bending the knee. It took me much longer than you did to feel really comfortable about riding again. I'd say about six months was the magic number. You're doing really well by any standards.

    You should see my herd and the mud. It would be hard to pick out the dirtiest one they're all so filthy. The caked mud in the longer hair is a real challenge to brush out. I personally hope it stays this warm all winter and let 'em roll!

  3. i haven't worn heels for years, and no plans to - i find that under smart office trousers, a smart pair of field boots that have never seen the field, or the horse (such as Ariats) work fine..... i like my back and ankles too much to go back to heels. and as for my back - it's always a lot better ON the horse, since the posture is better, LOL

  4. It means that in 6 weeks you will be running, lungeing the Boys and galloping on trail ^-^ HAHAHAHA

    Very interesting about the shoes. With my back injury I have been strongly advise AGAINST them.
    I have been advise dto wear the VIVOBAREFOOT shoes by TERRAPLANA.
    It gives you the impression to walk barefoot.

    The verdict is out. I shoudl buy both pairs and try them out.

    Perhaps the VIVO barefoot would help Oliver???

    Perhaps after Christmas ...

  5. Yes, in 6 weeks it will be wonderful! Just pay attention to the pain and don't push it exercising.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  6. Knees 100% just in time to dance at the New Year Party then??


  7. I have found that correct posture helps me out in my issues, too. It makes me wonder how many people's orthopedic problems could have been prevented with good posture!

    You are really doing so well. Truly, an inspration to us all!