Sunday, 30 November 2014

Ok the weather isn't going to get any better I have to get out and run...

Practising in the car park @ South Moor Park
I have been in a kind of limbo of late. My body is changing shape and I have discovered each of my various legs just aren't fitting. That's my NHS everyday leg that I wear for work, my running prosthesis which is in it's infancy, so I'm only at the check socket phase and my Bartlett Tendon which I have found to be way too big.  Pace Rehab are on the job, though it's been a difficult time getting fitted as like I say I change shape so quickly. Imagine if you will, when I'm really active I tend to loose weight, even though I am building strength and indeed muscle, it still means my residual limb shrinks. I then have to be re-fitted, however the time I then spend not doing any exercise I then put on weight and the original socket I was cast for then becomes obsolete as my sizing changes once again. It's very much a vicious circle which almost every amputee goes through. Don't get me wrong I'm not whining here, as I am very fortunate in the support and sponsorship I receive, it's just very frustrating when you want to get out there and get down to business only to have these small but annoying setbacks strewn across your path.

Paul Richardson my prosthetist at Pace Rehab has been fantastic, he has been dealing with my running prosthesis. So far we have experimented with two check sockets. The first Paul felt could do with minor tweaking just to get the seals on the Ossur Iceross X5 a tad tighter. So Paul took my original check socket away and tweaked away. When I received the new check socket back wow was it tight. I couldn't wear it for any period of time and couldn't bare to stand on it let alone run on it. I immediately emailed Paul and in return got an immediate response back, saying to keep off the limb and that an appointment had been made for me to attend Pace's new clinic right here in the North East, which is based in West Moor at the Lombard Physiotherapy Clinic. Pace now have an ongoing parnership with the Lomabrd Physiotherapy Clinic and it's very beneficial to people in our region. This opening of this new clinic has been a god send for me personally as it means I can just pop along straight after work, rather than have to take a day off and risk trying to get down to Manchester later in the afternoon after I finish work. It also saves loads of time and quite a bit if travelling expenses. It's brilliant to see Pace spreading it's wings and these sort of facilities, skills and practices are much needed up here in the North.

We have lift off

Upon meeting Paul at the Lombard Clinic, he informed me that he had only marginally reshaped the new socket, by no more than a few millimetres, however agreed that this small amount made a huge difference and at the end of the day it's no good wearing a socket that is uncomfortable to the user. Comfort being paramount in any prosthesis, regardless if it's just for walking or everyday use or as a socket for sporting activities. Paul had already brought along a copy of my earlier check socket and I popped this on and straight away felt much more comfortable.

 





After completing a few minor adjustments in alignment and doing some warm up's inside, Paul, Tracy (the Lombard physio) and myself set off into the car park just outside of the clinic so that I could have a few practice runs to see what the set up felt like. After doing a few back and forth's I couldn't quite put my finger on what felt different, but something did. I still haven't discovered what feels different, even after a few outings now. I mean the blade is coming through well and I'm landing square. Yes there is internal and external rotation of the blade as I run, but like Paul says "as long as the blade is landing flat and square, it doesn't really mater about the slight flick". When standing up straight, feet about 4 inches apart, my blade is straight, However as I lift my leg  forward, rotating through my hip so that the blade is in front of me, the blade rotates inwards (internal) and then if I rotate my hip so that my leg is out behind me my blade rotates outwards (externally). This is a normal pattern and obviously the faster we propell our bodies forwards ie: from a walk to a jog to a run the more rotation of our pelvis occurs, hence the blade can look as if it's all out of whack, when in reality it's a normal movement. What we have to understand is our own legs with having muscles,ligaments and tendons can adapt and align to create a nice running gait or pattern. Where as  with prosthetics they are quite rigid and don't have as many plains of movement. As far as I'm concerned as long as that foot is under me on each step and it's not getting in the way of my other leg, well that's good. I can work on improving my technique over time for efficiency and a better gait.


So I got my temp check socket to bring home and give it a go. Usually I have been running on playing fields at home as I am very concious of falling over on tarmac and scuffing and wrecking my new knee. I know sounds silly most people are afraid of falling in case they hurt themselves. 

Well as you will all be aware the weather has been pretty dismal of late I mean we are in winter and though it's mild it has been very wet. This means all our local playing fields have been bogged down and this makes for a very difficult surface to learn to run on. For starters it's slippery, the surface is uneven and although I can run on this surface I just don't feel as much return from my blade so it's even more tiring. 

Anyhoo after not using my new running limb for quite sometime I awoke on Saturday and jut thought "sod it" I'm going to head over one of our local parks and have a go at running in the car park on the tarmac. So that's what I did. Ern (my dad) came along with me and I completed 0.7 miles. I did this by just doing short practice runs back and forth in the car park, getting a feel for the limb and gradually building my confidence. I even managed a short run up through the park on the path and up a shallow incline, then turned around and ran back down. I had to be very careful as it was slippery with wet fallen leaves and the odd patch of pavement that had fallen into disrepair. I really enjoyed my short session, and in hindsight have learnt not to be so hard on myself about just how un-fit I am. After all no one does a marathon without first preparing themselves and for me it's not just the fitness I also have the additional task of learning to run on something that feels quite alien to me.
Challenged Athletes approved Blade and Arctic ONE funded components
Today, Sunday my friend Ade joined me. Again I drove over to South Moor Park and the same car park. I commenced with warming up and Ade grabbed a few shots. It's sometimes good to have different people watch me as I can then get feedback on where they think I'm going wrong. It was also very useful having Ade there as he could take a few images in succession and this enabled me to view where I could improve. One of the areas I need to work on for instance is my slightly and no offence meant 'Gay' hand and wrist. Omg where the hell is that thing going on my left side. I'm now at home giving myself a firm slap on the wrist and thinking 'No,No,No'. I know I'm never going to be exactly cool and down with the kids, but I most certainly don't want to run in a 'Chase me, Chase me' fashion.

As I continued my practising I became aware of a slight click, which progressed into a squeak. On closer inspection I discovered the 3 prong adaptor in my check socket must have come loose. I can't figure out how as Paul wrapped the adaptor in fibreglass to keep everything secure and tight. So for the moment I think I will have to wait until I can see Paul  and get him to have a look. It should be an easy fix and after all this is just a temporary socket, one used to gauge comfort and fit.

So at the moment I am without my Bartlett Tendon, awaiting a new socket, which Paul is on with. Can't wait to get back in the saddle as it's been a good few months since I rode. I have 2 brand new bikes here too my De Rosa Idol, only been out on it once. Probably leave it in the house until after the winter now, well I don't want to get it mucky. And I also have the new PYGA that Bike Swanky have sponsored me on. I haven't even been out on that one yet, so looking forward to that. Oh and whilst on about bikes my Fat Bike, well that's been off the road or should I say trail for about 2 or 3 months. I still haven't really got the crank and bottom bracket issues sorted out. Wiggle refused to replace or offer me my money back. The representative from Silverfish who is the main distributor has been in touch and I have been informed I'm getting a new set of e.thirteen  cranks and BB's. Not sure when these are supposed to be coming, reminds me I must mail to find out what's going on.




I've hid my 'Gay' Left hand
 So what am I to do to try and keep fit, otherwise I am going to fall into that vicious circle,becoming a couch potato and finding when my new gear is ready it doesn't fit. Guess for the time being it's swimming practice. I started back to the pool around 3 weeks ago and really enjoyed it.

Ok until next time tale care everyone...

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