After an accident, it’s great news to be told by your doctor that you can start putting weight on a leg, joint, or foot after being confined to a wheelchair for several months. It can also be a little scary, especially is you are older.
You may worry about pain, or accidentally injuring yourself again.
A 93-year old mother of a friend had fallen shortly before Christmas, fracturing her femur and patella. “Mryna” was told to keep her right leg immobile and not to bear any weight on it. After four months of being wheelchair-bond, she was starting to feel dependent and isolated. Then happy day – she was given the green light to start bearing weight on her injured leg.
At first Mryna was so glad and excited. But after her daughter brought home a walker, Mryna began to feel hesitant to attempt to transition.
It’s a good thing to listen to your own intuitions. If you’re not ready, you will not feel confident or relaxed.
Mryna wisely decided to wait until after her first physical therapy appointment. Her Physical Therapist (PT) Shawn showed Mryna how to start transitioning slowly, only doing as much as her body could tolerate. He also showed her how to maneuver her body and where to place her weight for the safest way to move.
Initially Mryna’s leg would ache a bit at the end of the day, so she decided to slow down and reduce the amount of time she put weight on her leg early on, and then gradually increase it.
Mryna is reporting that she has made significant progress over the last three weeks and is feeling really encouraged. She is not quite ready to go dancing (she didn’t really dance before either), but she’s ready to join her friends at the Senior Center for lunch and parties.
Once Myrna is doing well enough, the PT plans to transition her to canes. Myrna may prefer to use walking sticks, as they are easier on her arthritic wrists. Finally, Myrna looks forward to walking unaided – at least on level surfaces.
Everyone’s case is different and varies upon your physical abilities. Be sure to talk to your physician and/or physical therapist to find out what is best for you.