We are all familiar with the advertising campaign that includes the phrase, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” It was the first thought that ran through my head when I fell and broke my ankle in the summer of 2009. I was already scheduled for a kidney related surgery that day, so when I made it inside my house, I called my daughter and asked if she could come and take me to the hospital a little earlier than planned. Since then, I have experienced a number of falls, including the one in February of 2015 that resulted in a mild traumatic brain injury. I have no memory of how I got up from that fall and made it to my recliner. About two weeks ago, a foster dog played a huge role in two outdoor falls. The pain from those is fresh. They prompt me to ask myself how will I get up after the next fall.
I am aware of two things: those who are physically fit can stand up from the floor or ground without using their hands and arms while those who are not fit cannot do so. At this point in my life, I can get up after a fall, however I must use my arms and hands. Therefore, one of my goals to is be able to get up without using my hands and arms. It seems so simple when people who are fit do it. Of all the scenes in the film Jurassic World, the one that lingers in my memory is the one in which the actor Chris Pratt sits back on his heels and then when ready stands straight up (at about 1:56).
.Jurassic World – Dead Apatosaurus Scene – HD 1080p” on YouTube
I cannot do that. I lost a great deal of flexibility as the result of three total knee replacements. The steel and plastic of my prosthetic knees simply do not allow for that amount of flexion. And somewhere along the way, when I was not paying sufficient attention to wellness and injury prevention, I lost the required strength to stand up without using my arms. I really dislike being weak. I know where it leads. I am not ready to go there. Therefore, one of the most important goals that I have is to be able to say that even though I have fallen, I can get up and I do not need to use my hands/arms. If that sounds overly ambitious for a 69 year old woman who developed underlying autoimmune issues at age 10 and seems to collect major surgeries as a hobby then you do not know me. I am a tad driven.
There are several muscle groups that will require attention in order for me to meet my goal. I have already started working on the imbalance between my quadraceps ( too weak and uninvolved) and my hamstrings (very strong but always stretched too tightly from trying to be in control of every thing). However, I also need to focus on the group of muscles known collectively as “hip flexors.
“These include the rectus femoris and sartorius located on the front of your thigh, the tensor fasciae latae, which is part of your hip and upper thigh muscles, and the pectineus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, and gracilis, which are all part of your medial thigh ( Ellgen, 2015, p.4).
This image does not include the muscles of the upper thigh. I will focus on them in a later blog,
At the present time my primary focus will beon the psoas. Spams, tightness, and weakness in the psoas produce pain in my lumber spine, pain in my groin, and pain at any point along muscle. Usually this pain is on the right side. Recently the high level of imbalance shifted the pain to left side. I am working to achieve balance in my hip flexors along with strength and flexibity. My primary focus is on the psoas. But this is a closed adaptive system. Every time I chabge one part in the system, other parts also change.
Today, I finished my first “psoas set”: some standing leg swings and lifts, some leg kifts from the floor with two pound ankle weights, some standard psoas stretches, and finally some roller work all around each thigh.
The rest of my day involved using a supermarket to get in my walking and getting the groceries into the house as my strength work. These activities of daily living can be very painful. In order to survive them, I must think about things like my five pound lift limit and the importance of lifting with my legs rather than my back.