The Christmas of Simple Things
After yesterday's post, I had a wonderful 2km walk with the dog around our west forest / sand track loop. It was a bipedal walk with one astronaut boot and a pair of crutches, used rather in the manner of cross-country skiing. I was putting both crutches down each time my injured foot was down, to take some of the weight off it during the rolling phase of the step sequence, and this allowed me to walk at normal speed again - 6-7km/h for our normal hiking walking on flat ground - we like to go at a fair clip and to really swing our legs.
And oh what an amazing feeling to be finally doing that again - taking extended steps, stretching out all the muscles in the legs and lower back in the process, and really really moving, not just hobbling along. With the support of crutches during the rolling phase, there is no limp and no pain, and the general discomfort of the foot was very much backgrounded by the lovely sensations of stretching muscles and freedom to move and to breathe, and the working up a sweat that was actually connected to speed, rather than pain or having to move awkwardly. I can't express just how great that felt.
The dog was giving me this look on the walk, "So are we back in business?"
Right now she's lying on her side within cooee as I write this, waiting for the promised morning walk - and she gave her usual melodramatic sigh as she went "on hold". I told her that her middle name is now Florence, because she has been a faithful nurse at my bedside whenever I've been horizontal since my injury; and that represents a complete break in her previous routine, which was to be the livestock guard and supervisor every minute there was daylight, and to only come in voluntarily if the weather was cataclysmic or night had fallen.
It's Day 41 post-fracture, and this morning I have reached another milestone: I have both feet back in a pair of matching footwear - my new hiking boots from last page! I've left the lacing loose over the left midfoot, but have it firm on the ankle, which is perfect for the moment. And they are soooooo comfortable - something Keen hiking shoes are well known for, and why this is my third pair already - having worn out the previous two (well, the last one is still good for around the farm, but the soles aren't grippy enough for rock faces and boulders anymore).
I've had a good walk around in them indoors and think they are just superb for this stage. The support and sideways stability (ankle roll protection) is nearly as good as the astronaut boot, but these boots are super-light and comfortable, and it's so good to have equal weight, sole thickness and general configuration on both sides, and I have made the executive decision this morning that I will be taking crutchless walks on our public road in them starting now - it's a level surface. Also I will do my physio in them.
On our farm tracks I will revert to the cross-country astronaut skiing again until I become completely limp-free and comfortable indoors and on the road in hiking boots. And from a biomechanical point of view, I'm far better set up to use both legs correctly and evenly if I am also in symmetrical footwear, instead of lugging a heavy weight on my injured foot and having my hip at an angle because of its heel height - to me, that's a recipe for back problems and for cultivating uneven walking, not for using your muscles correctly. That's also why my specialist actually wanted me to ban the astronaut boot from indoors immediately. He's just mostly concerned that my foot is properly supported - and these Keens are not ordinary sneakers, nothing like it - they're fully supportive, grip-soled, base-wide, ultra stable things made to prevent injuries on slippery rocks and uneven ground.
The indoors road test this morning was excellent - in bare feet I can barely hobble on the injured foot, in the hiking boots I can walk comfortably and dare to take weight back through the first metatarsal, which is our main weightbearer for striding walking. The other metatarsals are mostly there for stability. The reasons I can't walk barefooted are a) that I need cushioning between it and the ground, and b) that my foot needs to be supported and prevented from accidentally rolling. The main reason I instinctively take weight on the side of the injured foot barefoot rather than use it evenly I think is to prevent rollover. Well, the hiking boots really tick those boxes, which is great.
The limp when walking at present is caused in part by (probably correct) anticipation of midfoot pain through the rolling stage of the step, and also definitely in part by reduction in ankle mobility through lack of use for nearly six weeks, plus contraction and atrophy of the left calf, same reason. I've been doing calf stretches and general leg muscle stretches, and this immediately improves the limp. I can also at this point walk backwards or sideways limp-free.
And I'm dying to take this on the road, so I'll excuse myself now!
Hope everyone has a great weekend.