• The Heel Slide

    A major development!!

    A major positive development!!

    The best kind of development.

    I guess the title of this post  gives it away.  No?  Well for those still in the dark, let me share a little bit of the back story on the Heel Slide.

    Anyone who has had work done on their knee probably has come up against the heel slide exercise.  Heel slides help you regain your range of motion in the knee after an injury or surgery.  Basically, you lay on your back like the lady in the picture with one leg extended straight, and the other leg is brought to your butt as close as you can.  My therapist, Sarah, instructed me to use a strap around my ankle to help pull the heel as much as possible to the butt with the help of your hands.

    Looks simple, right?  It can be, but it can also be difficult - (translation: hurts like hell.).  This woman obviously didn't have surgery - her face is peaceful.  She is not swearing.

    So, since mid-May I couldn't do this with my left knee.  I could pull my right knee up to my butt, but the left knee - got about as far as the picture lady is before tears formed in my eyes.

    Anyway all summer and fall this self-torture activity was part of my routine.  As I healed my therapist took measurements of the angle my leg made - and the sharper the angle, the more improvement until I was "within normal range for my age."  (There's that "for my age" crap again!).

    When I knew I was nearing discharge I had a serious talk with my lovey therapist, Sarah - who by the way has a doctorate in this stuff - and is not a wilting lilly about inflicting pain if it helps healing.  (I hated that part.)

    The conversation went something like this:

    Me:        "Sarah, watch this."  (I bent my right knee to my butt, I could touch my right heel with my
                    right fingers.)

    Sarah:    "Yes, Elaine, that is excellent, more than is expected."

    Me:        "Now watch this."  (I bent my left knee to my butt.  There was still a great divide between
                    heel and fingers.)

    Sarah:   "Right - but your flexion in that left knee is within normal range.
                   (... for a person of your age - which she didn't say, but I was thinking.)

    Me:       "So, Sarah, last night I was watching a Christmas Special with the Radio City Rockettes."

    Sarah:    (small eye roll with grin).  "I can hardly wait to hear where this is going.  And ..."

    Me:       "Well, I noticed during one of their routines, they could all touch their heels to their butts."
                   (It is not important that I explain to you how I know, but trust me on this.  They could.)

    Sarah:   "Yes, I imagine they could."

    Me:        "So ...?"

    Sarah:    "But you are within normal range for your ...."  (oh, you know the rest.)

    Thinking back on the conversation I guess I could look at the glass as half full - and say my right leg is 'Radio City Rockette worthy.'  I am pretty sure one leg is not good enough to make the Rockette line up.

    I was discharge from PT the beginning of December - with one leg more normal than the other (see I can be positive.)   That status was fine with the doctor and fine with the therapist and fine with Medicare and Blue Cross who paid for all those months of PT.

    Now to the reason I am sharing all this with you! (I know you were wondering.)

    On New Year's Eve I was doing my exercises while watching TV.  (I am just a party animal, you know.). The last exercise on my list is the Heel Slide.  I start with the right leg (one that can reach my butt).  Want to be sure that my right leg doesn't get any ideas about what is "normal for my age."

    Then I did my left leg, reaching with my left fingers to find my heel (which I haven't been able to accomplish all year) ... and the two met - fingers and heels.  AND with NO swearing!  None at all.  Shock!  Took a small moment to make sure I was exercising the surgery knee - I most definitely was!

    I jumped up.  (I use the term 'jump' loosely - but I did get up.)  I had to tell someone.  My husband was already in bed - and asleep!  And then I realized, the person I had to tell was Sarah.  My husband would have said, "Oh, that's nice."  But Sarah ... she would have understood.  I shot an email off to her.

    And, as I expected, Sarah was appropriately excited!!

    Now I should mention, that the left knee is not really 'Radio City Rockette ready' - the heel isn't touching my butt yet!  But it is only a matter of time.

    New Goal for 2018 - 


    Or ... maybe I will just accept the fact I could be a Rockette if I wanted to.

    Can your heels touch your butt?  
    Could you be a Rockette?

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