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Back Problems Message Board

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Unfortunately, my aunt had a different PT today. I didn't feel comfortable asking him much and I didn't trust his answers I'm afraid I didn't learn anything useful.

One exercise he did with my aunt today which was useful is to take the theraband (that's the rubbery, stretchy stuff you were given), have your wife or someone stand on a length about 2 feet long. Face her, with you sitting on a chair. Put your foot underneath the theraband, so the band comes across the ball of your foot, and just flex your foot up and down --maybe 20 times. The bands come in different tensions...I don't know what color you were given, or if you have several, use one that isn't too hard for your foot to lift. The point of it is to increase the resistance just a bit more than normally flexing your foot.

The thing you want to be careful about is working it "enough" without causing a flare with the nerve. This can be a very fine line. If anything you're doing on your own causes more pain or numbness the following day, stop or cut back.

If you can walk OK without having to use a cane, your foot drop is not very bad. I know it isn't "normal" but I have high hopes that it will resolve in the near future. Just keep walking as you are doing. More frequent short walks are much better for your recovery than one long walk. The main idea is to keep those spinal nerves stretched out so that scar tissue doesn't have an opportunity to attach to one of them. It will also challenge the nerve that is damaged, get more freshly oxygenated blood flowing, rid the body of waste build-up, etc.

Whenever you are watching TV, lying in bed, etc. you can continue to work that dorsi-flex action. Do ankle pumps, slide the leg out so the leg is straight, and then back up so the knee is bent. cross the weak leg over the knee when sitting, and point and flex that foot, make ankle circles if you can...just anything that moves that foot. You can massage it any time...massage each toe individually and GENTLY pull it from the tip the toe is perfectly straight 9Not slightly curled under), etc.

If you have stairs, stand on the step, hang on to the railing so you don't lose your balance, and let your heels fall off the back of the step, so that you get a nice stretch in the Achilles tendon. And any time you think of it, raise up and down on tiptoe. (I guess this is called "heel raises." ) You can also try balancing on one leg for a minute with eyes open, and if you can do that, try it with eyes closed.

You can go online and find exercises for drop foot or exercises for foot drop...also look for exercises or stretches for plantar fasciitis and the ankle. Another good exercise is knee extensions. Sit on a sturdy table or desk so that your legs can dangle free. Swing your leg out from the knee until the foot is in a straight line with the knee. You can try it with the toes pointed or with the foot flexed...each exercises different muscles of the foot and ankle.

I'm sure there are more...but this should get you going.

If you can stand on tiptoe, can you walk on your heels??

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