Noilly Prattle: Screw the screwdriver

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Screw the screwdriver

     German writer Hermann Hesse's apt metaphor, “...stagnated in a swampy lake of indecision,”* suits me to a T. I, too, was mired in the muck of being unable to make up my mind about what to do about the titanium nail in my left leg.

      The apparent consensus of opinion of four Orthopedic doctors was that it wouldn't be worth my time and effort (nor theirs) to undergo surgery to remove the nail and do rehab all over again with no guarantee that it would make the leg all better. They all left it up to me, with: “I can do it if you want, it's your decision.” Right! And a hug and a kiss and a tuck in for the night might do just as well. Well, my “decision” is enough is enough, clear the swamp of indecision, out with the doctors, in with self reliance. In the final analysis, I know my own body better than anyone else, medical professionals included.

       While waiting for the information from Prague about the tools needed to remove the nail and screws from my leg in the “it all hangs on a screwdriver” phase, I had some time to monitor the nuances of the messages coming from my hip. It began to dawn on me that more of the discomfort and tendency to limp I was experiencing was coming more from muscle weakness than inflammation. So, I started to research and experiment with additional exercises to strengthen the quads and hamstring muscles in the leg and the glutei maximus and medius muscles in the buttocks.

       I've worked out a series of strengthening and flexing and stretching exercises for the leg and butt muscles, that I alternate with weights to maintain muscle mass in the arms, chest and shoulders and some leg lifts to tone the abdominal muscles a bit. I also go swimming at a local municipal pool once a week. Of course, only time will tell, but I'm hoping that focusing on an area that I have control over—exercising the muscles—instead of agonizing over whether to do or not to do surgery will improve the muscle strength and mass enough to relieve the stress on the trochanter area where the muscle meets the nail. I would be satisfied with 80 to 90% recovery of my pre-accident condition.

       For my friends who are also experiencing similar problems with post-surgical discomfort and weakness in the hip area or other issues with the legs and knees I've attached a few photos of the leg exercises I am working on. For the strengthening exercises I would start out in your own comfort zone in terms of number of reps and count. My goal is 10 reps. and hold for a slow 10 count on each leg. For the Yoga type exercises I do 3 reps. for a slow 10 count on each leg. I use 250 gram (about 1/2 pound) ankle weights for these exercises. 











* Hermann Hesse, Rosshalde

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