Exercise is out

Discussion in 'Healthful Living / Natural Treatments' started by Marguerite, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I had the tests done on my leg today. The doctor had ordered Dopplers, plus ultrasound. The Dopplers would show any clots while the ultrasound would show any muscle tears. I couldn't figure out how I could have a torn muscle, but neither could I figure out how I could have clots in my leg and it not blow up like a balloon. My mother had leg clots but we all blamed this on the medication used to treat her asthma when she was child - steroids, mostly.

    They said they couldn't do both tests on the same day, so I chose to have the Dopplers done first, since clots are more serious.

    The radiographer (I suppose I should call her a sonographer) was very good indeed. She also explained what she was doing. The gist of it was, my blood vessels are in good condition (as far as she could say - I haven't got the report yet). Then she found a muscle tear, even though the test wasn't supposed to be looking for it. But this did save me having to go back in a few days for the rest of the test.

    Since then I've been wracking my brain to work out HOW I could have torn my calf muscle. The only thing I can think of, is maybe I slipped but saved myself from falling. The doctor had said a torn muscle has to be rested (and her money was on a tear). Everything I've looked up says, "Do not exercise until it is healed".

    The trouble is, my medical condition is such that the only exercise I CAN do,is walking. And not much of that. The Wii Fit has been really good, but it also does work the calf muscle enough to make it hurt. I can rest in bed all day and have it feel a lot better, bus as soon as I get up and walk to the bathroom, my leg is hurting again.

    Since my leg started hurting, I've cut right back on my walking. mother in law lives about ten houses away and I've walked to her house maybe once every few days (or less). Apart from the Wii (again, every few days at most) I've not been walking, except indoors. I can't cut back anymore, without going to bed entirely. And the leg is definitely absolutely no better - it's been almost a month now, since it began hurting.

    I'm supposed to be losing weight. I'm supposed to be getting as much exercise as I can. This is important. But my leg has to heal as well. Catch 22.

    Very frustrating. I'm wondering if there is some way I can maybe bandage the leg and then go on to two crutches? At least the rest of me would then get a workout, as I try to walk around the block.

    I also have a lunchtime class at the school tomorrow. If I have to rest this leg, I don't think I can do it. But if the only rest I can do is not making any difference...

    Any ideas?

  2. ML

    ML Guest

    Keep doing what you are doing with the diet and rest the leg. Maybe you'll just plateau at the new weight and it will help your body adjust. Would it help you to feel any better to do some light arm weights? Otherwise there's not much you can do but rest. I'm so sorry, Marg. You've been doing so great and I know this must be very frustrating. ml
  3. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I'm so sorry about the torn muscle!!! I agree with ML - Keep following your current eating plan and rest your leg as much as possible. Try to maintain your present weight until you're able to exercise again.

    I know how much you want to exercise. I don't know of any way you can bandage your leg and walk with crutches without doing any more damage to your calf muscle. I think, for now, my best advice would be to continue to stay off of your leg as much as you can.

    I've found that frequently icing helps with achilles tendonitis. I don't know if it will help a torn muscle, but I don't think it can hurt you. It might be worth a try.

    Thinking of you and hoping you recovery goes quickly!!! WFEN
  4. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Saw a lady in a contraption the other day.....she must have had a broken/sprained lower leg, had a "boot" on but then she had this walker thing that was just for one leg, she had her bent knee in the "sling" part of it then she would walk on her other leg and roll on the hurt leg.....never saw anything like this before.....does this make any sense? You would at least be able to get around....not sure how much exercise you would be getting, but at least would get you mobile.....also working out with hand weights would be great for your arms and torso...... Good luck!
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I finally got an appointment for the GP tomorrow. I posted over in General on the Good Morning Monday thread, but I realise it was a bit ambiguous.

    This was not caused by the Wii Fit - in fact, I first noticed the pain the night before I ever got on one of these things. It was dry weather but it's possible I had maybe strained/torn a muscle a day or two earlier and not noticed. I am on very strong painkillers which sometimes mask injuries. I think I recall a day at difficult child 3's school a few days earlier when I might have slipped on some wet leaves...

    The step aerobics seem to be OK and not hurting, unless I do the Advanced ones which include a kick. I noticed the kick was hurting, the last time I did it. But the more advanced ones again, which are just stepping and nothing fancy, for ten minutes, didn't hurt to do so I'm going to give it a go. If I take very short steps it doesn't hurt. I also was wearing kitten heels at the dinner on Saturday, and found my leg felt a lot better. This all fits with it.

    I haven't seen the doctor for my post-test appointment, so I don't know how bad the tear is. All I know is that it showed up on the ultrasound for the Doppler studies, and from what I was shown on the screen, it looked about five times bigger than the femoral blood vessels. I don't know if magnification changes on those screens though - it probably does. The sonographer said the tear was at the point where the muscle attaches to the tendon at the bottom of the gastrocnemius, which is apparently a common place for it to tear. It's definitely not a micro-tear, which the GP was thinking (probably because I wasn't screaming in agony).

    One of the problems of taking strong pain medications - it's a bit like the damage lepers can do, due to lost sensation. I can do damage because I am far less aware of pain.

    So I'm going to do my Wii Fit balance test later on today and hopefully the ten minute step aerobics (depending on what I can handle, with NO pain at all). I might also try for a walk around the block using two crutches and not putting weight on my left leg at all.
    The only contraptions I've got are my mobility scooter and my canada crutches. The scooter is no exercise at all, the canada crutches (two) can take the load off one leg, at least. To get anything else, such as the walking frame described, I would have to be assessed as suitable by the local hospital rehab physiotherapists, and they don't hand them out lightly. To even buy equipment, you usually need a referral from a physio, or you have to pay full price and not claim any back from insurance. And if I won't need it for too long, by the time I see a physio I probably wouldn't need it any more (I hope).

    I'll have to do some walking tomorrow when I go to the doctor, hopefully it won't be a problem.

    Fingers crossed!

  6. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    PLEASE be very, very careful!!! If you're on strong pain medications and the pain is masked, you could end up doing even more damage to your leg. I know how frustrating it is when you can't exercise, BUT, if you end up doing more damage, the recovery time is just going to take longer - I've been there done that!!!

    I have my fingers crossed that you're able to do the balance test and step aerobics without pain or further damage.

    I'm thinking of you - I know it is extremely frustrating not to be able to exercise when your mind is totally into it and your body just won't cooperate. WFEN
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I don't have any suggestions, other than perhaps some weight training sitting down, some twists while sitting, and some crunches (while lying in the bed). I'm glad you went to the doctor and found out what was going on. Better than now knowing and doing more damage.

    Since you have been so successful with your weight loss thus far, I don't believe a little down time will create havoc. Just continue with the healthy eating and rest the leg. You will get back quicker if you do nothing now. As long as you can maintain while the leg heals, you are still ahead of the game.

  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I see the GP tomorrow to get the official report. I'm finding that it's not hurting if I go very gently and take very small steps. I'll see what the doctor says in the morning. I'll let you all know.

  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Not sure if this will help, but I remember visiting my Gma at her retirement center (assisted living). They had an exercise class called "Sittercizing" or something like that. ALL the exercises were done while seated. I am sure there are various formas of this around, maybe a web search would help find them.

    Sorry about the muscle tear.


  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I got the report from the doctor a couple of hours ago. The tear is 3 cm long, with a 4 cm haematoma underneath it. The doctor said to talk to the physiotherapist about what exercises I can do.

    I see the physio tomorrow morning. I got an appointment with the village physio but there is a funeral tomorrow afternoon, so her bookings have had to work around that because EVERYBODY in the village is going to this funeral!

  11. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I'm glad your seeing the physio soon. Once she gives you safe exercises to do, hopefully it'll help you feel a bit better both emotionally and physically. Is the physio similar to what we call physical therapists in the U.S.? Does the doctor have any idea how long it will take for the torn muscle to heal? WFEN

    P.S. Who is the funeral for? It must be someone important for the entire village to attend.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I suspect a physiotherapist is much the same as a physical therapist. I'll ask her tomorrow. I've seen her before, for another problem; a few years ago my mobility scooter tipped over on top of me and I was covered in bruises as well as having twisted my back, my neck and a few other things. She panelbeated me back into shape over a few weeks. She's very good.

    The doctor didn't say how long the recovery will be, but I noticed tonight that my leg began hurting again because I had been a bit more active, maybe taken bigger strides than I have been.
    Since I began taking it VERY gently and taking note of what seems to make it worse (and avoiding such activities) it does seem to be improving.

    The doctor today was telling me to use cold packs for the pain when it gets too bad, and to take something for it. I felt rather guilty, because in fact the pain isn't really bothering me, beyond the knowledge that it has signified that something is wrong. In other words, I can put up with THIS pain. Maybe it's because of everything else I take for all my other pain. Oh well, there need to be SOME blessings in life!

    The funeral - she was a long-term resident, she and her husband moved to this village sixty years ago when there would have been only a handful of people and access was far more limited than now (and we're still isolated now). She was a kind, caring person who did a lot for people because she wanted to and because she felt she should share any of her own talents and good fortune. The whole village has developed with an air of "we all help one another" and while this attitude seems to be fading in these modern times, our isolation seems to keep pushing us into looking after each other here. I'm not sure how old she was, but way past 80 I think. She used to paint, to sculpt in clay, to arrange flowers, to grow anything pretty, and also taught a lot of these things too. She was only an amateur at any of it (although she didn't seem to think she was!) but always enjoyed whatever she was doing, was always busy. I used to hold my writing class in her home and we shared a lot of stories.

    She never held high office, never attended university (not even sure if she finished high school), never really stood out for anything more than simply being a good, kind, genuine person who just liked everybody. She was the sort of person who could be a friend to you regardless of any age difference or any other difference.

    I'll miss her now she has died, but glad she had a good, long life and was well respected.

  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, update - the physiotherapist thinks I need two, maybe three sessions. She said I can do whatever I feel like doing, as long as it doesn't start hurting. The gastrocnemius is a load-bearing muscle so it can continue to heal even while I walk around. So I have to go gently, follow what I've already learned about taking small steps slowly, and it should heal fairly quickly.

    The funeral - I really am not good with funerals. The church was packed as I expected, but the wake was at the local club which didn't allow for much conversation. I left fairly early so I could get back home to difficult child 3. I used my mobility scooter which made it easier for me to talk to people without having to walk here, walk there and stand a lot.

    I would have liked the chance to stay longer and chat, but it wasn't happening at the club.

  14. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I'm happy you saw the physiotherapist and you can do as much exercise as is comfortable for you. I hope it heals A.S.A.P.!!! You are doing so well with your eating plan and exercise - I'm so glad this isn't going to be a major set-back!!! You've come such a long way!!! I know you're going to reach your goal!!!

    I wish I had known the woman whose funeral you attended. Anyone who knew her was very lucky to have her in their lives. I'm sure she is going to be deeply missed in your village.

    I think it is wonderful that the people in your village help each other. I think one of the worst things about modern society is that people are so indifferent towards others. I read recently, I forget whether it was in a local paper or on line, that a man was hit by a car, people saw it happen, and nobody stopped to help him. This is absolutely unbelievable!!! Where I live, neighbors at one end of the road don't even know who lives at the other end. It really is sad...

    Anyway, I have to go - Thank you for the update. WFEN