Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 42 from Baseline

For the non-medically minded, I introduce you all to the notion of 'Plantarflexion'. This motion, is a motion of the foot. It describes the movement where the toes or ball of the foot is pushed down towards the ground. For example, you Plantarflex when you're pressing down the accellerator pedal of a vehicle.

Are you with me?  Okay then.

Plantarflexion isn't interesting to you until your ability to do it has been removed. And I would fall into that category. But today, I am excited about it becuase I have done something I haven't been able to do in a long time. I stood up on tip-toes using only my left leg to support my entire body weight.

Did I say a long time? I should qualify that. The last time I stood on my left leg and successfully raised myself up high onto tip-toes like any other normal person can do would have been September 2004. Of course we all know that I've only known about my arthritis for a little over a year and a half now, but that goes to show that I have been conscious about it and living with its symptoms for a lot longer.

Plantarflexion exercises using my left side only was the first physiotherapy exercise that Stretch assigned me after I rolled that ankle on a lunchtime run and shattered it like a pi├▒ata. It was the first of many weird and whacky exercises to come over the months and while the other exercises came and went, this was the one Stretch demanded I continue. It was painful for me and he knew it, but it was necessary to do as many of these lifts as I could. And after a while, once it was clear that the ankle troubles were plainly not limited to simple soft tissue damage, I stopped. But I never really stopped that exercise, not completely. Instead, I adopted it as a measuring tool and it became a very useful one. During the undiagnosed era, if it hurt like there's no tomorrow, I was in for a limp'n-filled day. On good days, It didn't hurt so much and I could get 3/4 of the way up into the lift. I have never been able to get anywhere near the same degree of extension I enjoy with my undamaged right foot, but it was still a fantastic way to benchmarking how my foot was going to be on any given day.

Since the commencement of my treatment, the need to use the exercise to gauge how I felt has steadily declined as my body has responded and my symptoms have dissipated. I used it early on to measure the improvement I was starting to feel. I used it again to determine when my ankle had improved enough to chance a pair of heels. And yesterday, I did it by complete accident while reaching for something on a high shelf only to instantly realise that I had achieved a full extension with no pain or any other negative sensations at all. No pain. NO PAIN!

It's often the little things that make you grin for days.

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