Good afternoon. Today is Monday August 31, 2020. I cannot begin to describe the utter frustration I felt when I couldn't control my right foot's movement at all. There truly was nothing that anyone could say to me to make it any better. As incredibly upset as I was, I knew deep down inside, that the healing needed to start from within myself. This was easier said then done, as my brain was misfiring signals and I felt completely out of controI. I decided to start with a few Physical Therapy sessions again. At that time, I was newly diagnosed and I was in no way ready to hear anything that my PT or Cecilia (once I met her) suggested I do to try and bring my foot back to where it should be. It has taken me five years to get to this point of complete right side awareness again. To be honest, it wasn't until I found my present Dr. that everything changed for the better. All of a sudden (now that I was no longer in a drug induced haze, like the last five years)), I realized that Cecilia had been right all along in telling me that I needed to work my foot diligently to start to see any change. She made it crystal clear that my foot would just get weaker and weaker and my gait would get worse if I didn't step up. I don't remember much about PT at this point, but I do remember an exercise that they taught me to help strengthen my toes. All you need to do is to put marbles on the floor (within toe reaching distance) and then attempt to pick them up one at a time with your toes. Once you have a marble securely in your toes, you then drop it into a small tupperware container (also on the floor). You should stay seated to do this! It is much harder than it sounds, but boy does it help your toes!
Another thing I do to help strengthen my toes and ankles is to point and flex my feet (barefoot) so I can see how my toes are doing. This should be a very slow movement. Doing one foot at a time, I have to be really mindful that I am concentrating fully on that foot and toes. Another idea is to try and wiggle one toe at a time. This exercise is really difficult for me, but I am working on it everyday.
For my ankles I sit on the floor (you can sit in a chair) with my legs stretched out in front of me. I spread my legs far enough so that I have room to do foot circles and not hit my feet together. I am also going to start working diligently to strengthen my calve muscles. You can do this next exercise by holding on to a chair or wall, but you need to be sure that you are standing up straight. If this is a balance issue for you, definitely hold on to something, so you don't fall. Keep your feet pointing forward. All you do is to simply spread your feet apart so they are about hip distance (meaning your feet are as wide as your hips). From that position, you slowly roll up onto the balls of your feet and then lower your heels back down in a slow and controlled fashion. I also practice this foot and ankle movement with my toes turned out (right back to my ballet roots). My best advice is to get someone to help you in the beginning to make sure that you have the correct form, so injuries don't happen. I am going to start with 3 sets of 8, with a teensy break in between each set. Once you have this down, there are many safe variations you can add.
When my foot was at the worst of its weakness, my walking was very interesting. Besides having trouble picking up my right foot, I tripped a lot. I feel extremely blessed that I never fell on my face. My left foot was working perfectly, but my right foot took on a life of its own. When walking, it clomped down like I was squishing a scary spider. Since lower meds and weaning off of most of them, I am now able to set my right foot down with a rolling movement from my toes down to my heel.
One more exercise that I find so helpful in keeping my right foot fluid and strong is by simply walking barefoot around the house at a slower tempo. This way I can really focus on my foot placement as it lands on the ground. Again, it is all about practicing that heel to the ball of your foot landing. The above exercises are really helping me gain my confidence back! Try one or all, and let me know what you think. Perhaps you have other exercises that you would like to share!
💃🏻 The fact that I can once again stand in this
position is nothing short of a miracle and hard work🤸🏼♀️