Monthly Archives: July 2016

My Hip Fracture Recovery #01

“A physio with experience working with dancers”

I originally saw John for a free consultation a few months after breaking my left hip in a bike accident. I had an emergency operation at the time of the  accident fixing the break with 3 screws. My greatest passion in life is dancing so I was very keen to give myself the best chance for a full recovery and John was recommended to me as a physio with experience working with dancers. I decided to see John for a full consultation as I was having some discomfort and
pain when working my left quad in some movements, which didn’t seem to be improving over time.

John first asked me to do a simple test which involved jumping as if skipping on both legs, then my right leg and then my left. He showed me in the mirror how when hopping on my left leg I was leaning over to that side with my upper torso whereas when hopping on my right leg my spine remained vertical. This test immediately showed us that I was not trusting in my gluteus medius doing the work of stabilising my hip in a horizontal position. John performed a number of strength tests (asking me to push my leg against his hand) which showed that my left quad was lacking in power. They also showed him that this wasn’t due to a lack of muscle strength but a problem with the power supply which is provided via a nerve radiating from the L5 vertebrae.

John was curious about testing my upper body, rather than assuming the problem was just localised at around my hip. He performed some tests involving the abduction of my arms which  showed that I had stiffness on my left side going up into L3 and my thoracic region. Also, he found that my neck vertebrae were not so springy on my left side. As I fell fully on my left side it might well explain the ongoing stiffness. John treated my upper spine with some manipulation which released some tension and resulted in my left arm abducting more freely. He also found that this resulted in improved quad strength and leg abduction when re-testing.

We then looked at the glute strength exercises I had been given by my NHS physio and found that my technique was poor. The exercise involved me lying on my side, extending my uppermost leg back  and lifting it upwards. We spent quite a bit of time correcting my technique: he corrected the alignment of my head and neck so that I was keeping my neck long and in line with my spine; he talked about ‘shutting the door’ (activating my transverseabdominal muscles), correcting my hip position and using my fingers to make sure my glutes are working.  We looked at my single leg squat exercise which I had been having a lot of difficulty with and which hadn’t been improving. John also identified my poor technique and I worked on making sure I wasn’t allowing my knee to go too far forward of my knee and that I was folding my hip in the same way as when doing the exercise on my left leg, which felt easy.

Finally we looked at my standing posture and looked at ‘shutting the door’ and ‘scapula setting’ to address the position of my shoulders which are habitually rolled forward. We also looked at John’s exercise sheets relating to ‘dynamic sitting’ and he suggested I work with those over the next few days if possible. John suggested we meet again the next week to see what difference doing the same exercises with my increased understanding has made.

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