Saturday, February 6, 2016

Crutches Be Gone!



There they are, the crutches and air boot cast that have been my constant companions for more than four months. They have been dumped unceremoniously in the corner of the front hall, soon to be relegated to the dusty storage room. My metatarsal fracture has healed.

I saw the surgeon on January 19, two and a half weeks ago. The X-ray showed that the fracture line was no longer visible; it finally had healed. As I have written before, I stepped in a pothole, turned my left foot, and fractured my fifth metatarsal bone on September 12. From then until December 17, I was in an air cast and on crutches with no weight bearing -- three months. For the final month, I was allowed to walk in the air cast bearing weight. 

I am now having to learn to walk all over again. My brain does not remember how to walk. Also, after four months of carrying my weight on my right leg only, and then limping lop-sidedly in the cast, my muscles of the left leg have wasted away. The situation has not been helped by the hours each evening and weekend that I spent on the couch with my foot up, trying to get it to heal. The left foot hurts quite a lot when I put weight on it. 

I have been going to physiotherapy. I have lost range of motion in my toes and ankle. My plantar fascia is very tight and painful, and my arch is falling. The weakened muscles are not supporting my knee and ankle properly. I likely have some adhesions in the complex architecture of the foot.

It was such a strange sensation when I took the cast off and tried to walk. I found that I couldn't balance properly and wanted to carry all my weight on my right leg. My left foot felt like a block that couldn't bend, and I could only take little tiny steps on the left side. My walking was extremely slow and I had to consciously think about every single step -- how to swing my leg, put the foot down, bend it, and weight it equally. 

People who know me will remember that I am usually a person who person who zips, races, and rushes about at top speed. I have always been athletic, and have taken for granted my ability to balance, bend, turn on a dime, climb, run, scramble up a steep embankment, and walk over rough ground. Right now I don't have these capabilities. I can walk, very slowly, indoors in hallways, or outdoors on flat smooth sidewalks. Stepping over a curb, an angled surface, or a branch, or walking around a bit of snow or ice requires consideration and conscious effort. I have acquired some sympathy for elderly people and other people with mobility limitations who walk so very slowly, now that I have experienced it myself. 

But every day my ability to walk improves. Four days after I was allowed to walk without the cast, I went shopping at the mall, wearing shoes. I took one crutch with me for balance and to relieve the weight on the left a little. I didn't walk very far -- just around a department store and a little way down the main hallway of the mall. I was on an excursion to buy slippers, as I found it too painful to walk around the house in bare feet, as I usually do. 

Now I have worked up to outdoor walking, little by little extending the distance. Last weekend, I did two walks around the neighbourhood with Rob, 1.3 and 1.9 kilometres in length. On Thursday, I walked down the hill to a meeting in a distant building and back. My phone app told me that it was 3.1 km round trip, but I think it was incorrect because I have measured that distance before. I think that it was probably more like 2.4 km round trip.

I have been wearing my hiking boots or my sturdy Keen walking shoes to work. They provide good support and a sense of security if the parking lot and sidewalks are icy. I am sure that they look a little incongruous with my dress pants, blouses and blazers. 

Today Rob and I are going to go for a walk in the park. There are extreme wind gusts. But the sun is shining and I am so excited to be able to get out and walk outdoors again. 

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