Things start to get a little more manageable the second week after surgery.
I still wasn’t able to get around very well; however, I was able to come off the pain meds and was learning how to manage the crutches without pushing down on my left arm with the fractured elbow. Physical Therapy was scheduled three times again this week along with my post op appointment to remove the sutures. My surgeon said I was doing well and scheduled me for a second post op four weeks out.
I was amazed at the new exercises (all Pilates based) I was given by the physical therapist that I could actually tolerate with little pain. The ball roll exercise was very effective when I focused on light pressure into the ball and a very deep core contraction. It is a remedial exercise we teach with new Pilates students to focus on pelvic stability and transverse abdominal engagement. We did these along with pelvic tilts to loosen my low back and also work on deep core strengthening and hamstring strength. These are hard to see in my photos, as they start out very small but will progress into bridge curls. I’ll post them later as I get stronger.
The hamstring curls you see above were difficult and I had to do them cautiously. This is another exercise that requires a good mind/body connection to feel the contraction of the glute and hamstring. I had to focus on anchoring my pelvis into the mat and slowly pull my heel in towards my glute. The whole front side of my leg, hip flexor, quad and knee were tight and I felt the pull in my hip. I could barely make it to 90 degrees of flexion. This is a great exercise to open up the front of the leg, strenthen the back of the leg, and stabilize the hips and pelvis.
Below is one of my favorite Pilates core exercises — knee/elbow planks!!! We modified everything she normally has clients do on their hands to being on the elbows because of my elbow fracture. I honestly think my PT gave this to me just to keep me happy so that I could do something more challenging and to keep my core strong. I started at a minute and am working my way up. I also did Cat/Cows on my elbows to stretch my low back and practiced sitting back towards my heels to gain more range of motion at the hip joint. In my next post I’ll share what comes next as I slowly rebuild strength and increase my range of motion.