I Broke the Machine

Every day is usually a “get better and better” feeling kind of thing; since the surgery and all. There’s days where I was tired and lethargic because I did not want to be inundated with putting my leg in a CPM machine then taking it out for 20, and repeat. Yet I kept at it. Even if I wasn’t doing all the exercises on my packet, I tried and made sure to do foot/ankle movements to improve dexterity.

Last Friday, after my Dr. attached one of my pointe shoes to the CPM machine. It broke. So for the last week I have been CPM-less. I have not missed it! Yet I still need it. My pointe still has further to stretch as well as my flex. There are no more CPM machines in the region and there is like an “industrial” version at a PT group I’m not interested in seeing because I like my Physical Therapist; she was once a Mickey Mouse and an Ariel!! I digress… I can also slowly work it at home, which is kinda difficult. Getting one of those weird foot arch boards is too extreme for my ankle right now. So I’m looking at an object that has piqued my fancy since I started dance. The Pro Arch. A lot of things in ballet are controversial, any where from techniques, shoe destroying methods, exercises, stretches, diets… this is no different. Some people LOVE it and some people despise it. I never thought I personally would ever need it, and at $200+ I wasn’t going to invest in something for someone like ME.

As the world turns, I find myself in the predicament of trying to achieve a further foot stretch on the top of my foot. Get my ankle used to tucking in further than it ever used to, with my shaved talus now and missing bone there’s so much extra space and degree of pointe I can achieve. This is what the CPM was supposed to help me with. I can also receive the treatment faster as the 20 minutes were often lost on the traversing from a flexed position to a pointed position, that took like 2 minutes in it’s own right. If I do get a Pro-Arch the only problem is it serves one function while the CPM served two (at a snails pace). So I was also looking at a foam half log: Pro-Tec half round foam roller. Nothing as fancy as the Pro-Arch, haha! Yet would help me safely get my flex. You’d think stairs would help, but I need small resistance to make it safe. While I love stair achilles stretches I’m not ready for those and have been instructed to not do them at all.  So I hope to consult with my PT about all these gadgets. Or alternatives that are more cost effective or don’t cost anything.

Seeing my Dr. yesterday I’ve now been OK’d for stair stepping exercises (which I promptly put into affect of just walking up stairs- a little weirdly and slow but I made it) balancing on one foot while holding up my free leg which then will eventually work to arabesques and penches when stronger. A lot of my strength hasn’t disappeared to my surprise. Just weakness and lack of flexibility holds me back. I have a lot of walking forwards and backwards crouch walking and pas de bourres to add as well. I’m finding I will be spending more of my free time exercising and restrengthening and stretching.

I’m hobbling around more freely. The numbness in my heel is begginning to ebb away. In general I feel more and more like myself everyday. I’m luck I have not hit a wall yet in my PT, there’s always small improvements. Like the last time my calf was a sad 32 cm in diameter. It’s now 33 cm! That’s big for not having full calf action! Speaking of my poor leg, it continues to disintegrate before my eyes! I can now see my femur bone pronounced when the lax muscle hangs from it. I’ve lost 3lbs in muscle tone since my surgery and now we 104lbs wet. During the height of Nutcracker season I weighed 113lbs! The most I’ve ever weighed. Happily though, as sad as my right leg appears, I have more mobility. My achilles is not as tight as it once was, there’s less annoying pain of relearning movement and I’m happy to move and flex and do everything I can for me leg and ankle. I still can’t plie for the life of me, but I’m taking it one accomplishment at a time.

Now if I do decide to get the Pro-Arch contraption I will still have to wait as there’s a 2-4 week wait. I guess every dancer got one for xmas this year :/ Ba-humbug!


3 thoughts on “I Broke the Machine

  1. It broke?!?! If the Pro-Arch would work for your stretching, why not the old school feet under the couch or door frame stretch? That costs only the time and annoyance of finding the right place in the house but then it’s $FREE.99 🙂 You put your feet (or foot) sole down under the gap, with knee bend, then increase stretch across your foot by slowly lowering your knee. I can take a video of BoyMowgli doing it if you need a better description, he just started stretching his feet at home ;-P

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