Legs: How do they work!?
September 15, 2013 5:24 PM Subscribe
I'm a 42yo overweight female. I've been on an ongoing and very successful weight loss program, and have no issues with my diet at this time. My issue is, I seem to have forgotten how to walk...
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I moved to a new city about 6 years ago, and for the first two years I worked from home. I spent about 90% of that time on my ass. When I finally started working in an office again and had to move around, I ended up injuring my left ankle (chronic insertional achilles tendonitis) and my right foot (something wonky and painful on the top of the foot when I push off.)
I've been limping around for a few years, unable to properly push off with either foot when I walk. This has led to steadily increasing knee pain, but never more than I could manage with tons of advil. About two years ago, I got serious about my eating and lost about 100 lbs (about half of what I NEEDED to lose, leaving me about 80-90 lbs overweight right now.)
My diet: Paleo
My exercise: 100% biking, and quite a lot of it
The weight loss has not helped either my knee pain or my foot pain (either side). I've been to physical therapy a lot, I've been to doctors who basically said I was fat and over forty so I should take more advil and suffer. I've been to even more physical therapy. And just recently, because I was almost unable to walk at all, I finally talked a doctor into giving me cortisone shots in both knees. That helped quite a lot, but now I want to figure out how to start fixing things on a more permanent basis.
To wit: I walk funny. I think it's been a slippery slope. I can't push off with my feet, which weakens my calves and my hamstrings and glutes, which puts huge pressure on my quads and the tendons around my knees. When I walk, I feel more like I'm dragging myself forward than anything else. I can't tell if this is helped or made worse by biking, which seems to do a lot for my quads and not much for most of my other muscles. My legs right above the knees, in front, are always extremely tight - so tight they feel swollen. Stretching helps minimally, but not much.
I know the root cause is my feet, but I don't know what to do about that. I've had an MRI on the achilles on the left side, but all anyone wants to do is send me to more PT that doesn't work and hurts like hell, or put me in a walking boot. I've done both of those things so, so many times. Nobody is even willing to talk about the right foot, I haven't even been able to get it X-rayed. Docs write it off to arthritis and pretend that is somehow treating the problem.
While I work on trying to find a doctor who will actually help with my feet, I'd appreciate some advice on how to strengthen the parts of me that I feel have basically withered away: Hamstrings, gluts, calves. I'm hoping that if I can get my hamstrings and calves and butt in working order, some of the instinct for how to walk will return. My body no longer remembers how my legs or hips are supposed to behave when I locomote.
Please note, I am PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE of rising up on my toes, on either foot or both together, so calf exercises have to come in some format that doesn't involve me standing on my toes. Any other advice/instruction would help.