25 Minutes on the Treadmill Yesterday…Boo Yah

Title pretty much says it all. I did 25 minutes on the treadmill yesterday, holding on with one hand, sometimes two when I was tired, and survived. Varied incline from 1.5-3.0 I think, and the speed from 1.4-2.0. Wore my Xero barefoot shoes in order to strengthen my feet.

0.75 miles. Yep. That’s the farthest I’ve walked during an exercise session in over a year, I believe. 

During the walk, I could feel a muscle deep in my upper leg try to turn on and support my weight. It’s difficult to describe. My guess (and I could be way off here) is that something in my deep longitudinal system is trying to work itself out.

This is the hardest I’ve physically been able to work out in in a long time. Sweated and huffed and puffed like I was doing a 5k. Afterwards, my body felt like I’d run a 5k, right down to the nausea that hit me about an hour afterwards. I’ve missed that post 5k nausea, oddly enough. It passed with food.

Good times.

My muscles calmed down by evening time after I did some electric massager tissue work, PEMF mat, eggs, super smoothie and trail mix, and the natural movements of making dinner.

Today, I’m a little achy (especially in my suspected deep longitudinal system), but it could be way worse. My gait feels a little better. My steps is a little longer. That moment of push off with my back left foot is actually trying to happen as I walk.

p.s. I’ve been practicing walking into restaurants, church, etc holding my cane at my side and not leaning on it.

November 2018 (and into the Winter!) Initial Forecast

Still seeing improvement. Limping a bit less. Pain is a bit less, thank God. Still a ways to go. Can now stand on left (weak) side for a few seconds. Have also discovered I can just barely walk upright and tall, using my cane, and can pull the left side of my pelvis into posterior tilt with my butt and hamstring muscles…if feels like it anyway. There’s definitely more extension going on back there.

I’ve had to work hard for this progress. The progression of healing is not linear in this case. Sometimes I push it so hard I’m sore the next day, and I actually don’t like that. Some of it is unavoidable yes, but it temporarily makes me feel like I’m moving backwards. The soreness isn’t like regular DOMS. It feels like back when I got the original injury sometimes. Ugh.

Alas. Overall, progress is definitely being made. Now that it’s November, I’d like to build in a habit of movement over the winter. The last thing I want is to be sedentary and depressed like last winter.

Here’s what I’m considering:

To introduce currently (November 2018):

  • Continue to work at the computer standing up, as you have been the last month or two. This involves constantly moving and shifting my weight, and doing small exercises. Don’t forget to throw in a session of “belt work” around the knees as well.
  • Work on concept of resting squats (with much assistance)
  • Lying on stomach leg raises (extension)
  • Glute Bridges
  • Hip hinging and squatting in everyday life
  • Resting squat in hot tub at gym
  • Balancing hip muscles in sitting position, partial 90/90
  • Mobility work on ankles with board, wall exercises
  • PEMF therapy 1-2 times a day
  • JUST DISCOVERED I can lay on back and do a straight leg lift. This has felt next to impossible in the past. I can knock out 4-5 medium height leg lifts now. PRAISE GOD!). Now I’ll have to grease the groove with these daily, while I lay on couch at night.)
  • Not able to do side lying leg lifts yet, so let’s try the standing version with band attached to a table

Working up to:

  • Perfect form squats
  • Perfect form Romanian Deadlifts
  • Perfect form rotational lunges

Even further down the line:

  • Perfect form squats with barbells
  • Perfect form Romanian Deadlifts with barbells
  • Perfect form rotational lunges with barbells
  • Push ups (full body health)
  • Pull ups? (Way down the line, lol. Full body health!)

Hamstrings, oh hamstrings…I think you’re more important than I realized

As I briefly mentioned in my previous post about my frustration co-existing with my obvious progress, I think strengthening my left hamstrings will help pull that side of my pelvis back into a more normal position.

This morning my little medial hamstrings on my left side are notably, slightly sore, and in a good way. That is so cool. It means they are activating, and can now be strengthened. Seeing as they’ve visibly atrophied (they look and feel so floppy compared to the other side), it’s super exciting to know they are turned on and I can strengthen them. What did I do yesterday to make them sore? I did three sets of 8-10 glute bridges twice total, and the PRI 90-90 exercise sitting in a chair, with the EMS unit on my medial hamstrings.

Evidence for this line of thinking:

The Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) mentions one of the first things generally done is using the hamstrings to pull the left pelvis back.

I even had a knowledgable physical therapist I highly respect tell me single leg romanian deadlifts would help calm down my painful adductors.

And looking back over this year and a half of hell, the weaker that hamstring got, the worse my pain became. At my most painful point in March 2018, if I was laying on my stomach and tried to use my hamstring to lift my foot off the ground, I could barely do it. At the time, I didn’t give it a ton of thought because, frankly, I was overwhelmed and in one of the deepest depressions of my life. Alas.

The more I used walking aids, particularly both forearm crutches, the weaker my hamstrings seemed to get. And the more my pain increased.

This interesting article from Swiss Physio has some interesting points that hit home for me:

“Throughout the stance phase the hamstrings act to stabilise the pelvic girdle and propel the body, and therefore the centre of mass, forward. The faster the walking pace the more muscular activity is needed to maintain stability…

Any weakness may result in an anterior pelvic tilt and thereby an excessive lumbar lordosis, especially if the gluteus maximus is weak as well.”

Yep, that’s me, including the anterior pelvic tilt I go into when placing weight on my left side. So it stands to reason that strengthening my hamstrings (and glutes) will help naturally correct that.

And this interesting statement is from https://fulltorquefitness.com/?p=262, and highlights the importance of the Biceps Femoris (one on of the hamstring muscles) in hip stabilization and the SI joint:

“Together these muscles [the deep longitudinal muscle slings] work as stabilizers of the hips and core. This is mainly seen as we walk, these muscles absorb energy from the ground and transfer it up the body. Where the energy being set up will dissipate before reaching the head if the core is acting properly.

The Biceps Femoris has a special value in the stabilization of the hips. As the Biceps Femoris is contracted the sacrotuberous ligament is pulled down with it. This forces closure of the Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint).”

Now, as I take steps to strengthen my hamstring, I notice I’m in less pain and feel sturdier on my feet. I’m mentally kicking myself a bit. I really, really wish I hadn’t let the muscle wither away to this point. Oh well…

Interesting observation: after doing two sets of 3 glute bridges last night, I was to the point of exhaustion. When I got up off the floor, I could literally, barely walk. In that moment, it provided me the opportunity to momentarily observe my gait when my glute and hamstring muscles were exhausted. In a way, it was really interesting, because it provided immediate evidence that my hamstrings and glutes are very, very important. It allowed me to hypothesize that therefore strengthening these same muscles should allow me to walk better. That’s encouraging.

It’s a gateway to accessing other areas of dysfunction

Of course I understand that activating and strengthening my hamstrings won’t fix everything, because my situation is complex. However, I strongly feel it is very, very, important because it will (1) directly influence how I walk and reduce my pain levels and (2) allow me access to other areas of my body that need straightening out and progress to more complex exercises that straighten me out as a whole, especially as the left side of my pelvis moves back into a more normal position. It’ll be neat when I can stand on one leg, hip hinge better, do single leg Romanian Deadlifts, single leg glute bridges, squats, and even walking with a more normal gait. These complex movement address other muscles in my body that need balancing.

Training thoughts moving forward 

  • I think I’ll try switching focus to fast twitch fibers for a bit with my EMS unit.  Apparently, hamstrings are primarily composed of fast twitch fibers. I didn’t realize that. Doggonit.
  • Eccentric training where I can.
  • Try different foot positions to target different hamstring muscles (neutral, outward, or inward)
  • Try dorsiflexing and plantar flexing to target different hamstring muscles.
  • Eat more protein.

 

*Did some research from Strength Sensei)

Impatient, Frustrated, Discouraged…And Yet Improving

Life seems to be all about paradoxes and contradictions. I’m no exception, apparently. I’m impatient and frustrated, and yet improving. It’s more important now more than ever that I record my improvements, or else they’ll slip by me unnoticed as I compare myself to other people.

Here are my latest improvements:

  • I have increased internal rotation. Notably. Got down on my knees today, and was able to rotate my left foot out/left knee in farther than I have in a long time (a year?). I can actually get my foot in line with me knee, whereas before my foot was inside the knee when looking down, as in stuck in external rotation. Dare I say it, but now I think I can even get a little actual internal rotation. This is huge. Every bit of internal rotation I get, the more access I have to my glute muscles and medial hamstrings. And how have I achieved this improvement? Several things. Reverse clams. Sitting, moving my legs as close to internal rotation as possible, and activating the muscles (adductors, hamstrings, glutes) in that position by pressing my foot in different directions.

 

  • Glute bridges actually produce a burn in my glutes and hamstrings. It’s been ages since this exercise produced a burn anywhere other than my right lower back (yes, you read that correctly…my lower back). Seems like now the correct muscles are being activated. And while some may say only my glutes should be activating…oh well. My left hamstrings have visibly withered away, so they need MASSIVE work. I hypothesize that strengthening my hamstrings will help pull the left side of my pelvis back into position (I think it’s rotated forward at the moment.) I’ll take activation of both muscle groups for now, thank you very much. This is HUGE. Now I can do this exercise every day, or as much as I my body can take.

 

  • I’m increasingly using no aid walking around the house. This presents a huge paradox for me. Out in the world, I alternate between one crutch and a cane mostly. Once and a while (rarely), no aid. While this is overall an improvement, it making me work harder than ever. This makes life feel twice as hard as it used to be when I was on two crutches, because then I could simply lean on the crutches. Walking with fewer aids is hard work, and when life gets hard, I get discouraged. Nevertheless, me using less aids is an improvement. I need to remember this, even as I struggle to get accustomed to fewer walking aids. Sometimes I miss using two crutches, even though I think it made my lower body weaker overall.

 

  • My right, less symptomatic hip is less achy than it used to be overall. I’ve noticed the improvement since making it a point to be on my feet around the house more (working on the computer, etc)

 

  • My standing stamina is improving. While walking 10 feet with no aids is still a struggle, standing on my feet and carefully shifting my weight is getting easier. I’m able to last around a couple hours (max) on my feet. This much, much better than the 20-30 minutes I used to last when I was at my worst months ago. At my worst months ago, I was terrified that I was one step away from a wheelchair. Not anymore, woot!

Thoughts

Has using walking aids hindered my progress? I wonder. Now that I’m doing corrective exercises, walking without any aid may have its benefits. My muscles may grow stronger. My muscle slings may learn to work together.

Everything is hard. Everything. Turning while standing. Maneuvering. 10x the effort. However, my theory is that my muscles will adjust to the increased load and will also respond quicker when I need them. If less movement this winter increased my pain and feebleness, it stands to reason that mindful, careful increased movement will help me get better.

My working theory at the moment:

Psoas firing and strengthened –> pectineus firing (and strengthened?) –> adductors release as a result, and maybe heal from the repetitive strain they’ve been under –> glute medius becomes uninhibited by adductors –> while I also do muscle sling work to get everything to work together (use walking poles?) –> gait restored

Observations

Working the anterior sling in the seated chair exercise seems to be helpful. Especially as I twist towards the painful side, I’m able to slightly lift my left leg off the floor. Still difficult, but a little easier. I also try to focus on kind of sucking the leg into the hip, in hopes that I’m activating my psoas and pectineus.

More Progress

Wow. I did a photo shoot today that had me on my feet for nearly 2 hours (there were a few minutes were I sat down, but that’s it). I opted to use one crutch, even though I’m in the process of acclimating to a cane around the house and for short errands.

Speaking of which, I’m using the cane two weeks earlier than I planned.

Two weeks ago I did an hour long shoot on the crutch, and I remember being very tired afterwards. So much so, that when I flopped back into the car and drove home, my left hip muscles were literally stinging for a bit.

Not today. Huh.

After the shoot, I wasn’t very tired. Odd. Got home and went to the gym. Did some rotational lunge work on BOTH sides – modified on the weak left side – and then got on the treadmill for 15 minutes. Then got in the jacuzzi and did some one legged stands in the hip-deep water. Did some other adductor and abductor activation work.

Got out. Had some immediate tiredness, but it was gone by the time I got to Qdoba to pick up dinner.

I’m noticing my stride wanting to lengthen on the weak, left side, almost as if my glutes are wanting to propel me forward more.

I’ll take it. And even with all this, I struggle with impatience. It’s like, I’m seeing improvement, but it can come fast enough. Still, I’m very, very thankful to be moving in the right direction so far. This is precisely why I need to write this progress down, because otherwise I tend to lose perspective and despair that I’m not making progress at all…

…when, in fact, I am.

Turns Out These Rotational Lunges Are Working My Lateral Slings Are Very Effective

The title says it all. Turns out my lateral muscle slings – adductors, same side glute minimus and glute medius were shut down on the left, weak side.

This past week, working on them has given me noticeable results. In fact, I’ve gone from one crutch to testing the waters with my cane.

Huh.

Also interesting is that standing on one leg also works the lateral sling. I’ve noticed an improvement in being able to do these. Can almost do it on my weak, left side.

Interesting.

Back to Doing Photo Shoots – After Six Months!

Today was an important milestone. I did my first photo shoot in six months, and I did it on ONE crutch (which was a spur of the moment decision).

I last approximately 57-ish minutes on one crutch, woot!

And it gets crazier. I went home, sat on the couch for an hour doing computer work, and when I got up my left leg/hip muscles were still turned “on”, and there was significantly less pain than when I normally just stand up from sitting. I remember going, “Whoa” as I put weight on the leg and felt it hold me up. Later on when I sat back down, and then got up again, it was more “off” like normal, but still, we’re making progress.

This changes things. While it’s still tough work being on one crutch, I need to do that more. I have grocery shopping at Kroger in my sites, and then eventually working up to the larger, Meijer.

I’d also like to start using one crutch when I walk into and out of the pool facilities. In fact, I did that today. It was a challenge (especially since I’d already completed the photo shoot in the morning, so my legs were a bit worn out), but I did it.

The strides forward (no pun intended) I’ve made these past eight days have been more than usual, and very encouraging. So what have I been doing?

  • Using my EMS (electrical muscle stimulator thingamajig) unit to help stimulate my muscle fibers while doing many of the movements listed below. I use the EMS unit 2-3 times per day, in about 10-20 minute increments each time.
  • while standing, I’ll tighten my glute medius/side muscles and let it propel my hips in the opposite direction. Important is that I keep both feet planted. It’s harder to do this on my left side than right, obviously. I’ll do a variation of this while leaning on each leg, on tiptoe, etc, whatever I can think of in the moment.
  • while standing, I’ll do a modified “hip hike”, where I’ll let my glute medius lift the hip and then propel it outward.
  • micro lunges, while twisting towards the leg that is forward and tightening the glute behind me. It’s really cool seeing the progress on these, it was painful to do them at all, even with shallow movements. As of today, however, it’s way easier. I only experience minor pain when doing shallow micro lunges. Now I can start making them a little deeper.
  • gentle deadlift/hip hinge bow
  • gentle leg extensions while leaning over counter, some while standing.
  • shifting weight side-to-side, then front and back
  • placing left leg slightly in front of me, as if I were going to take a step. And then slowly shifting my weight onto that leg. I only go as far as I can with minimal pain (I can’t get far yet). This one seemed to reduce my pain when walking with crutches and moving around in general. I’ve also started twisting away from the leg that is forward.
  • taking the stairs on occasion
  • 5-7 minutes on the elliptical (not every day yet)
  • stationary cycling
  • holding a side plank in the jacuzzi, starting today. This was challenging, even in water. Eventually I want to be able to lift the leg on top comfortably.
  • aqua exercises/jacuzzi routine for general tissue work and conditioning

Future progressions I’m considering:

  • adding weight to the leg extension while leaning over counter
  • doing the leg extension while laying flat on my stomach on the floor
  • standing on one freaking leg, yeah!
  • being able to do side-lying leg raises
  • being able to lay on my back and lift my leg
  • walking on the treadmill

Seeing Improvements as I Grease the Groove

It’s been approximately 2 days since I’ve been “Greasing the Groove”, and I’m seeing improvements in strength and a decrease in pain already.

This morning when I leaned over the counter and extended my painful weak leg behind me in a straight-leg extension to work my glutes, I was able to knock out 10-12 slow, gentle movements with much less pain and no clicking. Mind you, I didn’t lift my leg too high, but I usually don’t. It seemed to take much less effort to lift the leg, as if my glutes were more turned on. Just a couple days ago, I’d do the movement and getting pain and clicking immediately, before the leg even moved.

This is crazy.

Also, as soon as I started walking around this morning, I could feel my body wanting to attempt to stand straighter when I walked on the left side.  It’s as if my glute medius/stabilizing muscles are trying to kick in.

Summary of what I’ve been doing to bring these changes…

Over the past two days, I’ve been greasing the groove with tiny little exercises, all while standing. Notable is that the first day I started doing these exercises, I noticed an increase in strength and a decrease in pain. And I mean, right away, especially with the exercise where I step forward and place a little weight on my left side, as if I’m going to take a step forward (but I don’t yet, because I’m not quite strong enough). By right away, I mean as soon as I finished the movement, and then grabbed my crutch to hobble across the living room, the movement was notably easier. It was the type of improvement that would normally take weeks for me to feel.

So what have I been doing? Here’s a summary below. Note that I’ve added some movements as compared to when I originally started:

  • yesterday, I starting using my EMS (electrical muscle stimulator thingamajig) unit to help stimulate my muscle fibers while doing many of the movements listed below. I used the EMS unit about 3 times throughout the morning, and into the afternoon.
  • while standing, I’ll tighten my glute medius/side muscles and let it propel my hips in the opposite direction. It’s harder to do this on my left side than right, obviously. I’ll do a variation of this while leaning on each leg, on tiptoe, etc, whatever I can think of in the moment.
  • while standing, I’ll do a modified “hip hike”, where I’ll let my glute medius lift the hip and then propel it outward.
  • micro lunges
  • gentle deadlift/hip hinge bow
  • gentle leg extensions while leaning over counter, some while standing.
  • shifting weight side-to-side, then front and back
  • placing left leg slightly in front of me, as if I were going to take a step. And then slowly shifting my weight onto that left. Only go as far as you can with minimal pain (I can’t get far yet). This one seemed to reduce my pain when walking with crutches and moving around in general.
  • take the stairs on occasion
  • 5-7 minutes on the elliptical (not every day yet)
  • aqua exercises/jacuzzi routine for general tissue work and conditioning

This is encouraging. I think I’ll keep at this and see how it goes. In the back of my mind I hope I’m not doing damage to the joint, but at the same time if I’m in less pain and feel more strength, then shouldn’t I pursue it?

And it’s cool to think of some of the progressions that are possible, such as:

  • adding weight to the leg extension while leaning over counter
  • doing the leg extension while laying flat on my stomach on the floor
  • standing on one freaking leg, yeah!

Had a Great Workout Today – I Want to Remember It

Day by day, I’m feeling stronger. There’s less pain, and I feel my glutes and hamstrings getting stronger on the weak (left) side. Standing straight is getting easier, as well as moving around my kitchen. I’ve even found myself dong more tasks in the kitchen lately!

Today – August 15, 2018 – had a solid workout, and wanted to write it down so I don’t forget it. Here’s how it looked.

  • 13 minutes on the elliptical/adaptive strider (took occasional breaks): took long strides, did some slow squat holds, and lifted my knees up near my chest by balancing with my arms. Also did stair stepping motions.
  • Jumped in the jacuzzi and put my leg in traction. Also did the couch stretch.
  • In the regular pool, I walked forwards and backwards.
  • Also put the band around my knees and walked side to side.
  • With the band around my knees, went down into a squat and held it.
  • Took band off. Did weird long side-to-side strides, pushing off with my posterior muscles and stretching out my adductors. It looked like I was dancing/doing some type of Tai Chi in the water, but if felt right. 🙂
  • Using the noodle, I did my kicking drills: forward, backward, and each side
  • Hopped back in jacuzzi and put my leg in traction again.
  • Did some gentle range of motion movements in the jacuzzi.

This workout left me tired, but feeling stronger. Of course, I grounded with my grounding blanket and used the electric massager when I got home.

Woot!

August 2, 2018 – More Progress…And Yet I’m Still Impatient

More Progress

The world is slowly becoming easier to navigate. My kitchen doesn’t feel like it’s five miles long. It doesn’t feel like a marathon to make my way from the living room workstation to the bathroom.

Also, standing on my knees is easier. About a month ago if I kneeled down and tried to straighten my upper body, I couldn’t do it. The left side was too weak/painful, and I could feel something catch in that hip. This morning, I was on all fours sorting through the mountain of laundry on the floor, and without thinking straightened up (while on my knees). Nice! I even knocked out a few hip hinges in that position, which I was definitely too painful a month ago.

EMS (electro muscle stimulation): My weak (left) leg takes nearly twice the power to get the medial quads firing compared to the other leg. Wow.

As of this week (or was it late last week?), I’ve started using the elliptical/adaptive strider at the gym adjacent to the pool. First I only lasted 2:11, and then about 7:00, and then I did 15:00. After 15:00 (which wiped out my energy levels for the rest of the day, similar to the way a 5k run used to), I took it back down to 10:00, which was better. It’s hard trying to figure out what is too much vs not enough for my body.

Lately, I’ve been getting a gnarly pain in my left hamstring/lower glute area, so I’ve given myself a handful of days off of the elliptical. It’s not painful every step, but on frequent occasions when I go to lift my leg when stepping forward or going up a step, it’s like a kick in the butt. Ouch! The last thing I need is a pulled muscle…I tell myself maybe the muscle is just cramping from disuse, and it needs time to learn to act like a normal muscle again.

*sigh*

Patience

Reminding myself of my baby steps forward is helpful during this infuriatingly slow process. Even as I grow stronger and in less pain, I grow increasingly frustrated that I’m not “normal”. It’s hard not to hyper-focus on other people who seem to walk without difficulty and not get jealous…or bitter.  It’s like the world is passing you by.

I’ve never worked for anything so hard in my life.

My Hip Cartilage Is Actually Growing Back

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. Yesterday was the 6 week follow-up appointment with my stem cell doctor, and he wanted to do an ultrasound of my left hip to see if there was any progress.

Initially, I said no, I didn’t want to see, because if there were no signs of improvement I would be severely, irrevocably deflated. He then quickly reassured me that six weeks was still soon after the procedure, and that often times you can’t tell a visual difference anyway. We didn’t have to look, he said, if I didn’t want to.

Well, that just made me want to look. After a moment of thought, I told him to go for it, because my curiosity would get the best of me. It would be nice to know if the months of hard work I’d been doing with nutrition, supplementation, and exercise had made any difference at all.

The ultrasound gel was cold. I didn’t mind. Much better than my previous visit, when I lay on the table writhing in pain as they extract bone marrow from my lower back.

There were a short few moments of silence as the doctor studied the images on the computer screen, and then he looked at me with excitement in his eyes.

“You can already tell a difference,” were his words.

I swallowed in disbelief, and said the first thing that came to my mind: “No way.”

“Yes,” he said, the corners of his mouth turning up into a subtle smile. “There’s a clear difference from six weeks ago. You can see for yourself.”

He turned the screen towards me and pointed out my femur, and the line of cartilage he claimed was growing back. He then showed me a screenshot from six weeks ago of the same area, and there was a clear gap in the cartilage, almost like a gate door was left open. (I know, weird analogy, but that’s what came to mind). Even my untrained eye could see there was a clear, obvious improvement between the two images. In the new image, the gate had appeared almost closed.

“Hell yes,” escaped from lips before I could stop it. I asked him to flip back to today’s ultrasound, and then visually soaked up the improved image as much as I could, trying to burn it into my memory. Looking back, I should have taken a screenshot of the thing with my phone.

Walking (limping with my crutches) out of the office that sunny afternoon, the first thing I did was call my hubby and give him the good news. Then I texted/called other family and friends who had been supporting and praying for me during this ordeal. To actually have solid good news to report was surreal.

It’s still early yet, and I know I have a long way to go, but it so, so nice to finally be moving in the right direction. To say this year has been brutal would be a vast understatement. It’s also nice to know that the pain reduction and strength gains from the last six weeks have not been in my head. The mind can play tricks on you, after all.

And then there’s the question of how much aqua therapy is playing a role since the stem cells are obviously working. I still believe the water exercises and jacuzzi sessions have been very important. The stem cell doc prescribed physical therapy to go hand-in-hand with the stem cell therapy after all, so the two are working together. And there’s no denying that I was in less pain from the very first day I stepped into the pool.

We’ll see what the next six weeks bring, when I have another follow-up appointment. I have to stay focused and keep working hard.

It’s just nice to have some positive results, finally.

List of Improvements Thus Far – July 21, 2018

The post will serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come, because doggonit, I get so impatient with how long this progress is taking. Yet, I’m making progress. I can’t lose site of that.

Since May 14, 2018 (a little over 2 months ago), here are the improvements thus far:

  • I can go up and down the stairs like a normal person. Still wobbly and lopsided sometimes, but I no longer have to take the stairs one leg at a time.
  • Standing hip flexion is past 90 degrees on my left (weak) side. If I will recall, at my worst, it was hard to lift the foot six inches to slip on a shoe.
  • I can lift my lift my left leg getting into and out of bed/the car. It used to be dead weight. I literally used to lift my left leg with my hands.
  • When getting into the car, I can momentarily stand on my left leg (while holding onto the car) while I lift my right leg to get into the car. Like a normal person. This improvement came even before I had my stem cell therapy.
  • While driving, it used to be the most difficult, painful, excruciating thing to lift my left leg/foot and bring it towards me. It was just as difficult to extend it out. I can now do this several times. It’s work, but not nearly as difficult or painful as it used to be.
  • For some reason, pointing my toes with either foot used to send pain shooting up the back/side of my achilles tendon area up almost into my calves. There was weakness too, like a I couldn’t get a good flex in. This is now 98% gone. I don’t know what it was (weakness? trigger points?), but it’s nice that it’s gone.
  • In the last week, I’ve been able to slowly put more weight on my left leg while standing stationary. I’m not quite equal yet, but getting there. Maybe 40/60. I can also stand taller, engaging my deep lower pelvic core and lateral stabilizing muscles
  • I stand notably straighter than I used to. Not as twisted to my right as I used to be.
  • Sitting, I’m not as twisted either.
  • Walking (with my crutch(es)) is slightly less painful. My goal is to get down to one crutch all the time while putting almost even weight on both legs. Would be great. Currently, I mostly use one crutch around the house, but when I go out, I use two.
  • My weak left hamstring is slowly getting stronger
  • My left adductor group is learning to lengthen
  • Hip hinging is getting easier. I first noticed this a few days after bone marrow stem cell injections.
  • When sitting, I’m able to pick my left leg up higher. Still a bunch of external rotation (internal rotation still a challenge), but the muscles are learning to get more control in a wider range of motion.