Sunday, October 18, 2009

A hip skate ...

I had to be at the rink today for a meeting and so I decided to skate even though I am not cleared to do so yet. I realize I am not a model patient but ... oh come on, people. I know hip chicks who have skied, ridden horses and ridden bikes at this point in their recovery. The only issue is falling down, and I am capable of doing that without ice and blades, not that I have yet. I was ready with an alibi, OK, a lie, to tell Dr. Mayo about how I received my injuries if I did fall ("damn cat ran right in front of me and I couldn't avoid her ... tripped and fell right down the stairs!") Yes, I am justifying my stupidity and I know none of you are buying it. I just could not go to the rink, yet again, and not skate.

I felt much stronger than the last time I skated at about 8 weeks (when I could barely walk). I skated for about 45 minutes and spent much of the time talking to people who were clearly jealous of my svelte and hip-looking butt pads. I actually enjoyed seeing friends but really wanted to skate more. Probably best that I did not since I am sure I overdid it. My hip flexors are screaming at me right now and I will be in more pain tomorrow, no doubt.

Skaters may be curious to know what I could and could not do. Forward stroking was OK at about 30% of normal power. Compared to last time, my hip abductors are actually working now and I can push to the side vs. just toe pushing. FI edges were OK. FO swing rolls were definitely stronger on my left than my right, but much better than at 8 weeks. Very cautious turns: RFO and LFO 3 turns, RFI and LFI mohawks, a couple of Blues choctaws (painful), one pathetic Kilian choctaw (painful), FO loops on both feet (two footed at the top of the loop) and one very slow and cautious set of LBO double twizzles (not painful at all). Note that my left leg is my "good" (unoperated) leg; I didn't try any twizzles on my right leg, I'm not totally insane! I was, however, spotted doing the forward samba steps from the Silver Samba at very slow speed.

FO mohawk a la rocker foxtrot was the most difficult turn I tried but my compromised ability to externally rotate was always a problem for me on those turns, and continues to be an issue. I could barely do one holding on to the rail. It's almost impossible. FO mohawks a la fourteenstep were a bit better, but forced and painful. I did 2 off the rail at very slow speed.

As mentioned, I had been concerned about turnout. It's not as good as I would like it to be, and it is worse than pre-PAO but may improve as I heal. I think if I were doing all these turns at speed I would have problems rotating. It will take some time to re-learn how to fake them consistently with my new alignment and worse turnout than before, but I think that it's all do-able with a lot of work, other than the FO mohawks. I may have to kiss the foxtrot, rocker foxtrot, and starlight waltz good-bye. Thank God I took Tim through the rocker and starlight tests before the PAO!

Overall I'd say right now, compared to pre-PAO, I am at about 30% stamina, 35% leg strength, and 25% flexibility. My posture is terrible but then again those muscles are weak. I am also in the bad habit of looking down right now - a bit scared to hit a rut or something on the ice like a french fry (the food court is directly above us in the mall rink) and go down on my hip. The fear of falling is something I am going to have to work through. I know how much a direct hit to the hip is going to hurt me and it's mentally limiting. I don't have much ability to bend my knees; this is not so much a knee or quad strength issue but I can't flex much at the hip and that prevents everything else from bending including knees and ankles. It's not surprising that I am stiff but that will take time to work through.

I now know some of the challenges and what I need to work on off the ice before next time. I do promise that next time won't be before I see Dr. Mayo and ask him for his blessing.

Luckily enough, I have an appointment with Dr. Mayo on Tuesday to find out how I'm doing and verify my upcoming surgery date in November. Perhaps he'll tell me to stay off the ice until 4 months (Nov. 8) but I'm hoping he'll let me out of the penalty box sooner.


ojulius said...

Awesome!! Way to go. Okay, I am NOT advocating you skating bf doc says so, but...Awesome! :) I know how it feels to want to move.

How long has it been since your last surgery? I can't remember right now. I am curious to know how your strength around the hip flexors turns out. I want to try skate skiing this year and someone mentioned to me that they though it might be hard because of my past hip surgery. Sounds like I'd better get to the gym to start strengthening those muscles for winter!

Glad you were able to enjoy the ice for a bit. How are you feeling the day after?

HipSk8 said...

My RPAO was July 8th, so I am at about 15 weeks. Hip flexors for me are still really weak and at this stage that's expected.

For skate skiing, it seems to me you'll want to work abductors so you can push out to the side since you don't use those muscles as much for regular skiing or biking. Also adductors to bring the leg back after the stroke. Also you'll need (and probably already have) strong quads to bend the knees, glutes to push forward, and just general leg strength for stability. Hip flexors may not be so much of an issue for skate skiing since you aren't going to extend the leg forward and through. You will stroke back and to the side, then bring the free ski back in for the next push. For ice dancing I need to use the hip flexors as I swing the free leg through to the front and up. I'd also use them more if I skated backward (which I did only a bit of yesterday).

I'm feeling pretty good today actually!