Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lower Extremity Exercises

Welcome To My Little Corner Of The World... here on this beautiful sunny, yet slightly breezy day in Lehigh Acres, Florida!!

I'd like to talk about your lower extremity muscles, which are the Quadriceps Muscles. These are on the front of your thighs and run between your knees and hips. These muscles are very important because they stabilize the knee, and are essential to enable safe walking and getting up out of a chair. Quadriceps deterioration happens very rapidly in people confined to bed. Restoring their strength is a crucial step in preparing to get our of bed to a chair, and to walk safely.

The Quadriceps may be exercised by having your legs flat in bed, and then tensing the upper leg muscles firmly for five second, then relaxing for five seconds, and then repeating the cycle for two or three times. As in the previous POST, build up this exercise as your strength improves.

Another lower extremity exercise is to strengthen the muscles about your hips and lower abdomen. Have your legs flat in bed, press your heels firmly into the mattress for five seconds, relax for five seconds, then raise your heels an inch or two off the mattress for five seconds, then relax for five seconds, repeat the cycle tow or three times. Again, build up this exercise s your strength improves.

If you have been confined to a bed for some time, or feel weak, you should never attempt to get out of bed without assistance. Professional supervision by a Nurse or Physical Therapist is preferred.
Your initial chair should be a firm plain wood chair with a high back, with side arms. A Walker device for additional arm support should also be used for the transfer from bed to chair. Preferably two caregivers should be on hand to help you. Wearing a stout Safety Belt until you are well mobilized is recommended.

When you are ready for the move, do not attempt to directly stand on the floor. Many weak patients develop Postural Hypotension, where your blood pressure quickly falls on standing up. This can lead to dizziness, fainting or falling. You should first, dangle your legs for a couple of minutes, if no dizziness is felt, then place your feet on the floor for a minute or two. If you feel the slightest hint of dizziness or exessive weakness, you can easily be slid back into bed. Do not get discouraged if you don't succeed on your first try. Progress to the chair only when you feel able to do so. Recommendation spending no more than five or ten minuts in the chair for the first time.

As your strength improves and your caregivers gain confidence in your capabilities, you may spend more time in the wooden chair, and then move into an easy more comfortable chair. Getting out of a deeper easy chair may be more difficult, so be sure your standing up strength and skills are adequate.

Well folks.... I think I have given you plenty of information to think about today.

Until we meet again... 1 2 3 Inhale ... 1 2 3 4 Exhale



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