Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Walking Practice and knee pads

As most of you will know, I use a wheelchair for pretty much everything outside my home.

This is for a combination of symptoms of EDS and POTS, summarised and simplified as:

1) Wobbly feet, wobbly ankles, wobbly knees, wobbly hips and wobbly spine; all requiring tight-rope-walker degree of muscle control, coordination and precision to maintain upright.

2) Dodgy blood pressure and heart rate in response to standing steadily stealing said muscle control and coordination.

The best way of improving muscles is generally to use them, but my trouble is that doing anything in standing has a very limited timescale, It's the coordination and keeping the right muscles at the right tension throughout a movement that I find so difficult - it's not a strength issue.

I have a theory that if I could find a way to improve one wobbly area involved in walking, then maybe that would make controlling the rest more do-able.

Only I can't practice walking focusing on just one area - because the moment I get any one area wrong, I hit the deck (or wall, or sofa, or table).

My physio gave me an exercise of kneeling on a wobble cushion and mucking about - as in moving arms around so I have to get muscles to compensate actively so I don't fall over. I wanted to build on this.

So the other day I bought....
Image result for rucanor knee pads

dancers kneepads.

Which I will use for dance (of course), but I can also use around the house.

My plan is: to do as much walking with poise as I can manage, then when I coordination drops to 'incompatable with proper walking' I can knee-walk instead - so my hips and trunk get more of a workout  in an upright stance similar to proper walking, but I don't have to concentrate on knee, ankle and foot position.

Hopefully this will improve my trunk stability, which might then, in time, make proper walking a little better. And even if it doesn't, the strength I build will help keep general pain more manageable, and it should also help with my digestion too! (Exercise is known to help transit through the lower intestine.)

Seriously, the knee pads make are incredibly comfortable to kneel on. Weirdly so. I mean nothing has the right to make kneeling this comfortable! But hey, I'm not complaining! They are a bit scritchy-tight, but I'm really hopeful that they might prove to be another tool that helps me get the best out of my body.

They are definitely worth it.

Yesterday I vacuumed the living room floor, courtesy of knee pads.

Normally getting the right muscle tension adaptations for the hoovering movements on top of standard wobbly joints control is virtually impossible: a recipe for disaster. Knee walking with kneepads made it delightfully do-able. And I was much less exhausted than I expected afterwards :)

All Hail the Kneepads!

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