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!

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