Shoe Lifts: Little Known Benefits

Hi my favorite readers! Wearing shoe lifts, whether they are noticeable or not, provides many benefits. It can be easy to focus on the negative, but what’s the point in that?

I previously wrote about being grateful for my 1.5 inch shoe lift. And..seeing that the post received such positive feedback, I thought I’d talk about it again. Enjoy!

Some may think that wearing shoe lifts is a hindrance. After all, not everyone wears one and the wearer could be on the receiving end of some strange looks. I know since I have been wearing a noticeable external lift for 42 years. I am still sensitive to the strange looks I sometimes get.

Part of my recuperation from my tkr includes having to adjust my shoe lift thicknesss. That is a process I hope none of you have to go through. Anyways, that is why I have figured out reasons to be grateful for wearing these beneficial orthotics.

Puddle Conquering. Depending upon the thickness of a shoe lift, puddles can easily be walked through. Your shoe will not get wet, unlike your regular shoe. This statement applies to shallow streams, also. Your feet will stay dry.

Self Defense Tool. If someone starts to give the wearer a hard time, shoe lifts can be used to place a heavy kick to the groin. The extra weight will make for an extra punch.

This maneuver only applies if you can lift your leg high enough to get a good kick in, though. Your leg muscles may not be strong enough. If you have difficulties lifting your leg, give a good kick to the shins. Ouch!

Convenient Bug Squasher. The extra weight of shoe lifts can provide for an easy elimination of bugs that are otherwise hard to kill (such as immensely oversized cockroaches known as Palmetto bugs. Eww..!!).

All you need to do is get a quick whack! or stomp in and the little critter will be saved a lingering death. Plug your ears in case the critter has a hard shell. You do not want to hear the crunch..believe me. Be sure to apologize to them before the killing process, though. They usually do not mean any harm.

It Improves Mobility. Of course, the best reason for wearing a shoe lift is the fact that it improves your mobility. It balances out your musculoskeletal system and gait. As a walking aide, it makes getting around easier and less painful.

There’s nothing funny about this. Just a plain and simple, hard, cold fact. It has helped out tremendously since my total knee replacement.

Hoping this helps others going through the same thing. Do you have similar stories to share? Feel free to post your comments….

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns.

This site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physical conditions for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

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Vestibular Exercises: A Fun Way To Improve Your Balance

Hi everyone! For years I have been doing balancing exercises to maintain my vestibular system health, overall body alignment, and good health. This is due to years of double vision, closed head injury, leg length discrepancy and other conditions. I’m not your average bear. I’m better looking.

You may already know this, but the vestibular system is where your inner ear is located. The health of this system determines how well your balance is, your overall level of well-being, and how engaged you are in everyday activities. Wow…see how it’s important to keep it healthy? That’s only a very simplified description, too.

Anyways…I found an easy and safe way to regularly do some balancing exercises. It involves the water.

For a little background information: Vestibular rehab exercises typically involve sitting upright on a bed. Then, the exercise has you quickly fall to your left and stay in that position until you’re not dizzy. Slowly return to the sitting position. Repeat this exercise to the right.

A chair-based exercise involves sitting with your feet firmly planted on the surface. You keep your eyes open and quickly turn your head to the right. Keep it there until all dizziness subsides. Slowly return to center position. Repeat exercise to the left.

For more information, feel free to visit the Vestibular Disorders Association website at:
https://vestibular.org

These are good for land-based maneuvers. (Good, but NOT fun.) But…who wants land when water is available??!!

Recently I was in the swimming pool. I thought it would be fun to quickly do some log rolls. What could it hurt? I couldn’t fall. That’s the benefit of water exercises. 🙂 It worked out perfectly. It was a fun way to exercise my vestibular system.

And yet another reason you need to start heading into the water and working out. The water’s buoyancy naturally supports your body weight, making it impossible to fall. You could be the clumsiest person in the world, but the water doesn’t care. It’ll lift you up. 🙂

You say you’re afraid of water? Many people are. I’ll keep my tongue in check, but quickly say that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. A number of YMCAs offer swimming lessons to introduce others to the wonders of water.

Remember to keep your vestibular system in good shape to improve your longevity and overall health. You’ll be glad you did.

Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.






Walking Surfaces Matter After a TKR

Hi everyone! I’ve written other posts before about walking as an exercise for recuperating from a total knee replacement. Walking surfaces matter as much as the walking itself, also. After 40 years of dealing with different types of walking surfaces and the effect on my leg length discrepancy, I would like to share some insight that can help others gain a better understanding about this sometimes “simple” topic. It’s amazing what we take for granted until it is gone or nearly impossible to accomplish. This is especially true after a tkr. Here’s the scoop…

Asphalt offers the harshest surface as far as joint impact goes, I have found. Orthopaedic literature, fitness publications, and bone health news state the same. As softly as I try to walk, I still notice and feel the impact.

Walking on gravel is no easy walk in the park, either. Gravel has a tendency to cause my ankles to sway sideways since it is so uneven. Even when wearing hiking boots, this can be discomforting. It’s especially discomforting due to my leg length discrepancy and need to wear a 1.75″ shoe lift.

I found a perfect solution last weekend. While walking on the beach, I stayed on firmly-packed sand. No joint impact at all. It was a very comfortable and enjoyable walk.

Walking on packed sand allowed me to walk further and receive a nice workout. It was quite enjoyable. It was especially nice not to end my walk by having knee area pain. 🙂 The only drawback was ending up with sand-coated boots. But, who’s complaining? Not me. I’ll take beach sand any day and twice on Sunday. 🙂

Thought I’d share this in case anyone else is going through the same thing.

Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.






Balance Issues & A Total Knee Replacement

Hi everyone! I have been asked about balance issues after having a tkr. I have written about this in numerous posts, but have received requests for this particular one. So…

Something strange and perplexing has been happening lately. There will be times when I move and suddenly lose my balance. It is not extreme, only a simply side step. To someone who didn’t know any better, it might appear as if I had been drinking too much alcohol.

I don’t understand why it’s happening, either. Sometimes it is due to my shoes losing ankle support. Other times it happens when I get out of a seating position and start to walk. Other times it occurs for no reason at all. It may be due to my leg length discrepancy. Sometimes it happens when my glasses are not properly positioned (I have a prism in my lenses). It’s been 7 months, 1 week since my total knee replacement surgery.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!
AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.






Ways to Naturally Relieve Scoliosis Discomfort

Hi my favorite readers! Having lived with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) for over 35 years, I have found there are a number of ways to naturally ease the discomfort level without taking prescription pain killers. Hopefully, you will find some of these useful for your situation. They range from physical activity, stretching, to meditation.

Physical activity.
Any activity that involves excessive jostling of the spinal column is a no go. Any activity that involves excessive pressure or stress on my spinal column does not work well with me. Hence, no jet skiing. I found that out the hard way. That activity involves way too much vertical spinal movement with hard landings for me to be comfortable. The same can be said about horseback riding.

* Swimming is an excellent physical activity to engage in to ease scoliosis discomfort. The water’s natural buoyancy supports body weight, taking pressure off the spinal column and joints. Some of my favorite exercises include:
· lifting my knee to my chest,
· holding onto the pool side while pulling my legs in, and
· simply using the water as a resistance against my legs.

* Stationary rowing is another good physical activity to engage in since it strengthens my back and upper body muscles. Movable rowing allows me to stretch my back, which helps my scoliosis. The same goes for snowshoeing.

* Stationary bicycling helps my lower back and scoliosis. I feel the stretch in my glutes and lower back. It’s not fun, but it works.

* As far as calisthenics go, I sometimes use ankle weights. I simply lay flat and do leg lifts. My leg lifts are to the side and straight up. I can feel my lower back muscles working. I know that helps my scoliosis. This exercise is also marvelous when done standing up in the water.

Stretching
Stretching is fantastic for improving flexibility, hindering muscle stiffness and reducing pain. This provides an immeasurable benefit. Some of the stretching exercises that work will for me are the following:

* Lay on my back and lift my legs to my chest. I grab my knees and pull them forward until I feel the stretch in my lower back. This feels remarkably wonderful.
Laying on my side and bringing my leg forward to my chest. Again, I do this until I feel my lower back stretch.

* Lay on my back, and put my arms out sideways at shoulder length. I grab onto something to use as a foundation (like table legs, or bed sides). Then, I bring my knees to my chest. I then rock my legs side to side by holding my upper torso still. I do this until I feel a strong stretch as my lower back loosens up. Sometimes, for an extra stretch, I straighten my legs while on one side. This works great in easing any scoliosis discomfort. In fact, this is my personal favorite.

* Tai Chai provides me with a variety of stretching positions to ease my scoliosis discomfort. One particular movement involves clasping both hands and moving them overhead. Then, turn the upper torso to the right, bend to the right, and hold for a few seconds. Move back to center, and then turn to the left. The lower back stretch is wonderful from this movement.

* Another Tai Chi movement involves simply holding a ‘pretend’ ball in front of me- one hand above the other. Then, I bend to the waist level. The next movement involves keeping the bend while moving it to the right side. Same goes for the left. This move can also be done with an exercise ball. Tai Chai is a simple, yet powerful way to stretch out muscles.

* Speaking of exercise balls, these are fantastic for all-body stretches. I find that laying face down and then face up on one does wonders for alleviating my scoliosis discomfort. Laying face up with the ball across the center portion of my spine works equally as well. The stretch can be enhanced by raising arms overhead.

* Doing a simple toe-touching maneuver helps. By slightly bending my knees, I can slowly bend forward until my palms reach the floor. Holding this position until I feel my back muscles loosen greatly helps.

Meditating
Finally, meditating every day for a bit is a great way to calm the mind while also loosening the muscles.

DISCLAIMER:
This article only contains suggestions based on my personal experience in alleviating my scoliosis discomfort. They may not work for you. I will not be held responsible for any negative consequences resulting from someone following my suggestions.

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing. She holds an advanced university degree in business administration.

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Donating Orthopaedic Shoes? Yes You Can

Hi everyone! Now’s the time of year when we see all types of donation bins around town. One was placed at my local YWCA. It was for shoe donations. Seeing that I’ve been wearing an external 1.5” shoe lift for over 35 years, I didn’t think donating orthopaedic shoes applied. But, I inquired anyways.

It turns out that there are people with leg length discrepancies in need of shoes with lifts. This never occurred to me, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because I very rarely see anyone wear a lift of this size. Here’s the story…

I was in the locker room last week. The lady next to me complimented me on my shoe lift (how often does that happen?? NOT MUCH!). She stated that her daughter has MS and needs a shoe lift, but cannot afford it. The mom had never seen a “real life” shoe lift. She was fascinated. She started asking me all types of questions. She seemed relieved to see a possible solution to your daughter’s dilemma. It turns out that her daughter walks around in great pain and discomfort wearing “ordinary” shoes. The lady then went on to explain that there are many adults and kids looking for orthopedic footwear they otherwise cannot afford.

That got me to thinking. I went to the front desk and inquired as to whether the involved shoe donation site would be interested in shoes with lifts on them. I have been accumulating them for years. She excitedly stated, “I’m sure they would!”

There are a number of shoe donation sites available online. Most seem to focus on sending shoes to underprivileged nations. I’m all for supporting each other as much as possible. However, why not donate shoes to your local community? There are many who can use the help. And…if you take your shoe donation to the site yourself, you’ll know your shoes are actually going to where you want them to go. (There’s something fishy about some online donation sites that just doesn’t settle well with me.)

Anyways, instead of discarding or storing your unused orthopedic shoes…consider donating them to a worthy cause. You’ll be helping someone in need, while freeing up landfills or closet space.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

Find interesting? Kindly share..Thanks!






Saga of the Metal Femur Rod

Hi my favorite readers. While working on my long overdue book, some previous happenings/material came to mind. I almost forgot about it. ..it’s an excerpt from my book about being in a body cast. Here’s the saga of the metal femur rod…

My femur sure has been through the ringer. I keep forgetting about different things, since there are so many.

For instance, upon initial hospitalization, I was put into traction. The weights were on the foot-side of my bed and my leg was in a sling. My thigh was in the sling, actually. The cloth sling kept moving, so I needed to keep pulling it back under my thigh.

It turns out that my femur bone was not aligned properly. This caused a 1″ overlap, which resulted in my left leg being shorter than my right leg. The initial fracture was about 2-3″ above my knee.

Fast forward six months. My femur was not healing fast enough, according to the surgical staff. So, surgery was recommended. Orthopods wanted to put in a metal femur rod containing a bone graft to speed the healing process.

The bone graft was to come from my left hip. And…the rod was to be inserted from my left hip area. There is a 2″ incision located at the point where the hip and femur meet…on the front of my body. Think of the crease that forms when you sit down. That’s the area.

This same procedure results in another 6″ incision that runs along the outside of my left leg.

Well…fast forward again. I refractured my femur almost a year later to the date. The fracture occurred about an inch above where the rod ended. The rod needed to be taken out. This procedure resulted in a 1″ scar on my left hip/buttock area.

What do I think of scars? They’re part of one’s history. 🙂

Find interesting? Kindly share….Thanks!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns.

This site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.







Note to Shoe Lift Wearers

Something interesting has been happening that I believe is worthy of sharing. If you wear an inch or greater shoe lift, beware. Those Velco closings do not work well on aquatic shoes known as water slides. And, I’m talking about the Velcro on a high-quality Speedo product, not some cheap brand. The Velcro easily loosens, and even sometimes pops open. It seems it’s not strong enough to hold the thick sole (or shoe lift). This can make for an unsafe situation, for sure.

Thought I’d pass this along in case any one else is going through the same thing.

DISCLAIMER: In defense of Speedo…this aquatic shoe is not manufactured as an orthopaedic shoe. I only turned it into one. As a nonorthopaedic aquatic footwear item….it’s great. 🙂

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Making A Flip-Flop Shoe Lift

Since wearing a nearly 2” shoe lift makes life easier for me, I needed to come up with something that would work with my poolside flip-flops. Well…

I had an extra pair of black flip-flops (that term cracks me up for some reason…) that was just collecting dust. Since I replaced them with a more sturdier version, I haven’t been using them. Something told me not to throw them out.

Shoe lift solution…
1) Cut off the material that goes between the toes on the unused flip-flops. No need for it.
2) Attach the shoe to the bottom of my current flip-flop. To do this, I needed to turn the older one upside down to align it properly.
3) Follow Red Green’s advice and use duct tape on everything.
4) Duct tape two flip-flops together in two places. One place near the heel. The other place near the ball of my foot.
5) New, modernized flip-flop complete with shoe lift ready to use.

VIOLA!! They work like a charm.

Hoping this can help others going through the same thing.

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4-Year Post TKR update

Some of my readers contacted me and asked about my tkr flexibility so long after my surgery. I inadvertently didn’t mention that in my 4-year post-tkr update. So….(thanks for asking, btw…short for by the way..)

My tkr flexibility is averaging 95, which is about the same as it was before my knee replacement. I have no concerns with this issue since it’s so nice to walk without pain and, besides, I couldn’t bend my real knee that well.

There’s excessive scar tissue around my tkr area, causing the inflexibility. Again, that’s no concern to me since it’s been accumulating for over 35 years.

I have noticed that my opposite-side knee is crunching. I’ve been told I have mild osteoarthritis in the knee. Again, I’m not that concerned since my “good” knee has been accommodating my body weight because of my “poor” knee for a long time.

There are times when I notice my opposite-side hip is letting me know it needs relaxing due to my leg length discrepancy. That’s life. A little icing and relaxing never hurt anyone. 🙂

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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