Monday, September 08, 2008

Walk this way

It turns out that walking is not so simple. If you change any aspect of the way you walk, everything gets messed up.

After my accident, I spent some time scooting around the house in my office chair. Then I got hold of a cane, and was able to walk by not putting weight on my injured side. Walking got gradually easier to do, and my right leg was hurting less and less. A few weeks into the cane, though, my LEFT leg began hurting. And it got worse. Soon, even though my right leg wasn't bothering me anymore, I could barely walk at all.

Enter the physical therapist. "Stop using the cane," he ordered, "and walk normally."

That meant no limping, no shuffling, no walking slowly. He gave me some exercises to help the process along. It turns out, with walking, that if you favor the injured side, you'll injure the other side and end up having to go to a physical therapist.

The first few days were pretty painful. On my LEFT side. But it got gradually easier. Two weeks later I returned to the therapist walking smoothly without limping--if I concentrated. There's a tendency to limp if I'm not paying attention, and as he pointed out, if you keep limping, it will become a habit.

I wonder how many people you see limping from old injuries really wouldn't have to limp if they practiced walking normally?

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