Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rehab VI: Locomotions

During my first crutch-less week, walking wasn't getting noticeably better.  I was limping to protect the foot, anticipating pain with every foot fall.  It hurt in the same places: across the top of the joint and below the outside ankle bone.  So, today Wayne said, "use a cane."  I tried a cane in his office and didn't like it -- too unstable.  So, Wayne said, "use a crutch."  The theory is the crutch will protect the foot by letting me take weight off of it when necessary, but also allowing me to roll from heel to toe, strengthening the calf and muscles of the foot.  I went back to a crutch.  It was much better.  Putting theory to practice, the foot hurt less and I really rolled from heel to toe.  That Wayne, he knows what he's talking about.

Last Sunday, I switched cars with my parents, going back to my Mazda 6 with a standard transmission after driving my mom's automatic Civic for six weeks.  I've always known that my Mazda's clutch is tight.  Driving around it's not a problem.  Where it is problematic is while starting the car.  The pedal feels as if it tightens progressively.  The farther I press, the tighter it gets.  The farther I press, the more it hurts.  The pedal wants to be pressed all the way to the floor before the car agrees to start.  Since I only have to do that once per trip it's not a big deal, but I have to brace myself for the upcoming stab in the foot every time I turn the key.  Shifting requires about 2/3 of pedal travel it needs for starting, so it's painless.  But as I sat in uphill traffic for 15 minutes in downtown San Francisco on the way home today, shifting from first to second, back to neutral, and again to first was annoying, making me pine for the Civic.  My driving desires are starting to show their age; or my age?

Today, I went to VeloSF for the second time since the injury.  Did 50 easy minutes with a minute of one-broken-legged pedaling every five minutes.  One-legged went pretty well, I pedaled pretty smoothly and circularly.  I ventured briefly into low Zone 2 (165 watts) to see how that would feel.  Two months ago that barely caused me to break a sweat.  Today, I broke a sweat and was almost out of breath.  In March that didn't happen until I got into mid Zone 3 (~220 watts).  Deconditioning, thy name is trimalleolar fracture.  But I am glad to be back on the bike and glad to be able to do 50 minutes.  Will try to replicate the effort tomorrow.

No boating, horseback riding, or skating (god forbid) tales to tell, just the above three ways of getting around.



Gunnar Berg said...

Hang in there.

My first vehicle was a 1946 Chevy pickup with a shot clutch and no synchro. It wasn't a cool truck. It was a discarded farm truck. The trick was to park it on a slight downslope only. First gear, turn the key and it lurched ahead as it sprung to life. To up-shift I learned to let up a little, pressing gently on the lever. When it released, snap it hard into gear. Down shifting is easy, let up, pop it into neutral, blip the throttle and pop it into the next gear down. Never ground the gears. Not sure all this would work with a Madza 6. ;o)

Bike Ride Stories said...

NB, that Chevy shifting seems to require more coordination than a man four weeks away from his 7-squared birthday and a bum ankle dares to try.