How far should you push yourself?
I am nearly 5 months post-knee surgery. The pain level in my kneecap is down from a 10 to a 2. I can walk more comfortably and I am stable on my leg.
The ankle of my surgery leg was experiencing more pain as I tried to walk downstairs. My physiotherapist told me to practice planting on the foot of my surgery leg and stepping down with the other foot. When I did this, I heard a crack in my ankle followed by pain! I remember one attempt brought on pain that persisted for over 24 hours. Should I keep doing this movement? How far should I push myself? Should I just push through the pain?
The pain was so sharp that I refused to hurt myself further.
Even though I was told to do this by a physiotherapist, I was convinced there had to be a better way!
I connected with Dave Freiday from Strategic Muscle Systems. You can learn more about my in-depth post on his treatment, who gave me an exercise that helped me move and strengthen my ankle without pain. My new physiotherapist also suggested small and deliberate movements to try. With recommendations from another pair of eyes, I improved my movement and could do their recommended exercises often during the day with little pain and soreness.
After a couple of weeks of these simple movements, I decided to revisit the task of stepping downstairs. I used my lowest yoga block to simulate a step. I practiced with support, and I was successful! I think that the simple ankle exercises were a good building block to regain the strength, balance, and mobility to step downstairs. Next, I went down the steps of my house with support. After practicing some more balance exercises, I was able to walk down the stairs with no support!!
The lesson here is – if a movement is painful STOP! Listen to your body. It may be telling you that other smaller movements are required before you can do that task. Set yourself up for success with the stepping stones it takes to reach your final goal.