Saturday, August 10, 2013

Never Too Hot to Rehab the Knee

It is crazy sticky outside. So what else is new? -- It's August. Okay, but it's oppressive even by August standards. I couldn't subject Superdawg to a morning walk, but we just got in a walk of sorts at dusk, before we were driven back inside by skeeters, which love humidity after all the rainy weather we have had this summer.

Fretting about my disrupted exercise routine, I picked up a copy of my Knee Owner's Manual (Brugioni and Falkel), discussed here several blogposts back. It reminded me (though I should need no reminder) that I am in the Three Months to Six Months phase of rehab from total knee replacement, and I need to continue to be engaged in exercise for ye ole bionic knee. In fact, my manual states that exercise is "just as critical now" as it was in the earlier phases, even though you may be getting sick of the same old exertions. Anyway, if it's too blistering hot to walk very far, be thankful for the indoor knee exercises. During the first three months, I exercised so much I actually achieved some weight-loss goals. No reason I can't do the same in the next three.

The experts recommend three types of exercise at this stage: Range of motion (at least 30 minutes a day for that alone), Strength and Endurance, and Balance Training. The manual suggests that range-of-motion exercises can be incorporated into everyday activities -- for example, while working at your desk, you can practice knee flexion by pulling the repaired leg back as far as possible under your work chair and holding it for several minutes. Then repeat several times. So whaddya know -- you actually can exercise while blogging!

The recommended strength and endurance exercises entail various forms of training on the stairs. That's something I can't do at home, because we have no stairs. Indeed, that's one of the reasons we moved to the Low Country -- we both were suffering stumbles and falls, with ensuing trips to the hospital, from living in the foothills and having to negotiate steep stairs. However, I should be able to devise something to simulate stairs for exercise purposes.

Speaking of the perils of falling, balance training is a key factor in rehab because it can be more than a year before you feel completely in balance after your knee replacement. I need to find a two-by-four or reasonable facsimile to do some of the recommended foot-swing balance exercises. But I certainly will follow the advice to have a countertop or sturdy piece of furniture to grab onto if I lose my balance. That would be a heck of a note: to fall and mess up the knee when doing a balancing exercise for rehab.

Anyway,  having done my knee flexion while blogging, I am now off to do the rest of my prescribed exercises in a nice air-conditioned room I have expropriated as my training facility.

© Robert G. Holland

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