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  • #16
    Your progress so far makes me believe that you'll make a really good (perhaps even full) recovery. I plateaued at about the 1-year mark and when I stopped seeing new results, I got discouraged and my condition has been status quo since.

    Your suggestion of the good hiking boots is something I'm going to look into immediately. I shyed away from them because I always felt they were "too heavy" so I always opted for light-weight sneakers. But maybe the rigidity in the boots will be more beneficial than burdensome. Do you have recommendations on brands/styles?

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    • #17
      Originally posted by springsunshine
      Your progress so far makes me believe that you'll make a really good (perhaps even full) recovery. I plateaued at about the 1-year mark and when I stopped seeing new results, I got discouraged and my condition has been status quo since.

      Your suggestion of the good hiking boots is something I'm going to look into immediately. I shyed away from them because I always felt they were "too heavy" so I always opted for light-weight sneakers. But maybe the rigidity in the boots will be more beneficial than burdensome. Do you have recommendations on brands/styles?
      I'd probably just go look at whatever REI / EMS carries in your area - mid-height boots (as opposed to lowtops) work for me for regular hiking. Getting full-on backpacking boots might be overkill right now. I would try on whatever they have and see how they fit - the different makes / models tend to be different for different foot shapes. Good socks can make a huge difference too (I like the smartwool hiking socks with thin polypropylene liners, but tastes vary).

      One thing is that new boots can cause blisters / hotspots, and for us with brown-sequard syndrome the stronger foot can't sense this (no pain / temp sensation), so be careful. My boots were all broken in and fit well before my injury, but sometimes I still take the right boot & sock off and eyeball my foot just to make sure nothing bad is happening

      I don't know if this will really be of help to you. For me, I had very weak dorsiflexion initially (I believe they diagnosed me with 'foot drop') and I walked on the outside of my foot (I forget the technical term for this). As time went by it got stronger though. About 10 days after getting out of the hospital a friend visited. I told him about the AFO and why I wore it. He commented that maybe wearing stiff boots would help. So I tried it just walking around the living room. I still used the AFO for a while, but by the time it started to give my left foot a blister I had the alternative in mind, and by then fortunately things worked out. Just another piece of dumb luck I guess...

      I think we're all sort of figuring this stuff out on our own

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      • #18
        Originally posted by rhyang
        I'd probably just go look at whatever REI / EMS carries in your area - mid-height boots (as opposed to lowtops) work for me for regular hiking. Getting full-on backpacking boots might be overkill right now. I would try on whatever they have and see how they fit - the different makes / models tend to be different for different foot shapes. Good socks can make a huge difference too (I like the smartwool hiking socks with thin polypropylene liners, but tastes vary).
        I went online to the REI website and became very interested in their more light-weight hiking boots (this for example). I think the mid-height design will help my ankle because the low-top sneakers I currently wear give no protection in that area, causing a tendency for me to roll my ankle.

        One thing is that new boots can cause blisters / hotspots, and for us with brown-sequard syndrome the stronger foot can't sense this (no pain / temp sensation), so be careful.
        VERY TRUE. I noticed this when I started walking a lot more. When I was living in upstate NY (near the Adirondacks), the long walks gave me awful blisters on my fully functioning but less sensitive to pain/temp side! This was partially due to me putting more stress on that foot to make up for the weakness in the other one. And partially because I had to go up a size in shoe in order to accomodate my AFO for my other foot (and I was too stingy to buy 2 pairs in different sizes). I also noticed that my "good foot" attempted to take over and worked extra hard to relieve my "bad foot" and I tended to get blisters under my toes. I also had several instances where the toes became injuried so that there was lots of bleeding inside/under my toenail (just like in the case where someone stubs their toe) but I never remembered stubbing mine. Eventually the toenails would separate from the skin and regenerate (sorry if this is gross). I countered this by wearing thick double layered socks so there was less space between my toes and the front end of the shoe and that helped a lot. I also paid more attention to not let my good foot take on more than it should.

        For me, I had very weak dorsiflexion initially (I believe they diagnosed me with 'foot drop') and I walked on the outside of my foot.
        Me too. But compounded onto that is my lack of eversion (flexing the foot outward) so that's why I tend to roll/twist my ankle. All my outer foot muscles are very very weak so I can't balance.

        <big sigh> ANYWAY, I'm going to check out REI and EMS and try on some boots tomorrow and see if it may help. I'm also going to start wearing ankle weights. I haven't really focused on increasing my strength (only endurance with lots of walking) in the past couple of years so I'm glad that I'm paying more attention to it now. I find that if I work hard, my body responds and I get stronger. If I slack off, it weakens. Time to get moving again.

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        • #19
          I like your "can-do" attitude I read somewhere (maybe it was on this website) that if a muscle contracts, then it can be strengthened.

          I'm still working on balance with my left foot, so clearly perfection isn't necessary there. A lot of folks use trekking poles while hiking for balance and to save their knees. I still keep one strapped to my pack on dayhikes, just in case.

          The boot you linked to sounds like a good start to me, though I don't have recent experience with that brand. Good luck !!

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          • #20
            Hi Rhyang:

            I’ve read a couple of posts were you mentioned doing balancing exercises. I am a recovering quad like yourself. I stated doing Yoga three days a week and my balance has significantly improved. I would highly recommend it.

            I am glad to hear how well you are doing J

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            • #21
              Isn't yoga great ? I started doing Iyengar in 2000 and it helps so much. Pre-injury I felt like it helped me rock climb better.

              I used to love doing shoulderstands, but have been scared to do those now because of all the hardware in my neck



              Right now I can balance for 90 seconds or more on my right foot, but only 20-30 on my left. It's fine for hiking, especially if I have a balance aid, but sometimes in rock & ice climbing you have to make delicate balancy moves, and it sort of worries me, but we'll see how things work out in 4 more months ...

              Thanks for the good wishes. I read that you are walking pretty much normally these days - fantastic !

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              • #22
                That’s an amazing picture Rhyang! I think I would avoid the headstands. I am lucky not to have any hardware.

                My walking is normal these days. I am running about 20 miles a week. I am trying to ramp up to 30… hopefully by June.

                I love the outdoors and I can’t wait to get back out there. Hopefully my other SCI issues will continue to improve as well.

                Take Care.

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                • #23
                  whoa. those are awesome shots, rhyang.

                  Looks like you're back doing what you love to do. CONGRATS!!! I bet it feels great!!!

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                  • #24
                    Thanks man ! I feel pretty good. Sounds like you are making some excellent strides yourself ! Told ya

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                    • #25
                      We were pulling the kayaks out of the water last night and a guy came up telling me about his friend Chris Waddell. Adding to his many achievements, he's planning an ascent of Killimanjaro. This video is worth the watch just to see his custom built mountain crawler...I want one!
                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_VNQQ3soGc

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                      • #26
                        Wow, that looks cool ... my roommate in rehab was a T7-8 (I think) para, an ex-Army guy who could bench 260 pounds, so he would probably love it

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                        • #27
                          Well, I thought I would update my thread, in case someone else finds themselves in a similar situation ..

                          I've been rock climbing for about six weeks now, after my neurosurgeon cleared me to go ahead and try it on toprope first. I've been doing balance exercises, core exercises and yoga and of course lots of cardio.

                          I've been climbing in the gym twice a week (toproping), and outside on the weekends, mostly toproping and following, though I've managed to lead a 5.7 bolted slab route and several 5.6 trad pitches. On Sunday I led my first 5.7 trad route since the accident (well, the 5.7 part was rather short ) in Yosemite Valley.

                          My first trad lead was on Labor Day .. a nice 5.2



                          I'm definitely getting stronger, but it's going to take time to retrain my footwork and build up climbing endurance. If there is one piece of advice I can give to anyone who wants to get back into it -- don't give up your dreams !

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                          • #28
                            I was an enthusiastic rock/ice/ski mountaineering person prior to my L1 incomplete spinal cord injury.
                            Did ice in Ouray, Rifle, CO, and in Banff and climbed Slipstream up there. Also did alpine routes in the Cordillera Blanca in Peru. Ski toured in the central BC ranges. And climbed in the Bugaboos including the Chouinard-Becky route on South Howser. Many routes on El Cap too. Man, do I miss my former life.
                            Good to know there are other climbers out there.
                            Jon

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                            • #29
                              I saw your picture of Shasta. I live in Reno, NV and every spring we would go do a ski descent of Shasta in a day. Usually the north faces which have better snow. a 7200 ft run - can't beat that. I have also dreamed of having my buddies drag up my sitski and I could crawl up the peak and do a first monoski descent of the peak. I could climb it with crampons and to long axes with possibly a short rope to a friend. Maybe next spring......
                              Jon

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                              • #30
                                Slipstream Wow, I am just a wannabe compared to you

                                I wish you luck on Shasta this spring ! I went up to Brewer Creek in mid-June to do Hotlum-Wintun Ridge and there were skiers galore. Spent the night at around 9200' or so .. didn't sleep well though and headed back down in the morning Still, it's always beautiful on the mountain, succeed or fail ..

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