Out and About

Now, I guess if you’re not very active the thought of five hours of physio for five days in a row can be a bit daunting. Actually even if you’re super active, I think that thought can be daunting. But never fear us! Physios do have a bad reputation in being lean, mean, exercise machines with bony elbows and the persuasion skills of an MI5 interrogator but we are also very good at load and fatigue management!

The residential rehab isn’t designed to work you until you fall asleep or make your muscles so sore that contemplating getting out of bed in the morning is slightly off putting. Nope, I’m not there to give you a gym bunny worthy beasting. I’m there to make sure you get the most out of your energy and you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. It’s why we build in breaks and treatment that is easier and off your feet between the harder bits, but we’ll go into those sections a bit more another time.

One of the things that surprises people is that we go ‘off campus’, away from the clinic and out into the real world. Our clinic has nice, flat laminate floors, our steps and slopes are even with good grip, there are no people getting in your way, there are no distractions. If all we did was train you in this environment you would get home and have no concept of how a pavement on an uneven camber can be so difficult. Because of this, it’s easy to lose all that confidence you gained in clinic as soon as you realise that I’m not there to gently push you and give you encouragement. Not everyone is like that, some people have heaps of confidence by themselves and off they go with no thoughts of their physio whatsoever. But in my experience the majority of people find it hard to gain confidence in new situations. That’s normal, it’s human nature!

That’s why when you’re here, at the start of the week, we set out some goals. Someone with a dog might want to be able to take it for walks again, maybe be confident enough to walk along a river bank to go fishing, maybe just to push a supermarket trolley around without being scared of too many other people. So that’s what we aim for. Even if you don’t really like going outside, and reading a book beside the fire is your thing, I’ll still take you out because I’m happier knowing you have the ability to go out over different terrain.

My favourite thing is going to the local park, five minutes down the road from the clinic. It has a 1km loop path, that is predominantly easy going with a few slopes and steps and there’s the occasional dog and small child on a bike to dodge. The other side of the park goes along a river and you have the opportunity for some off-roading over different surfaces. There are about five flights of steps through a lovely flower garden, no hand rails, all different sizes and cambers. I always say if you can do the garden then you can do anything!

For the more adventurous, there is a three mile loop through a wood about 20 minutes away from the clinic. It’s my favourite place to take those clients who want to get back into walking or hiking. Most the time they are very nervous as they would never venture off somewhere like this at home. However, after five minutes or so their grins are visible from space and the confidence they get from feeling like they’ve been set free is worth its weight in gold.

On the less naturey side of things, some people want the confidence to go shopping through a busy shopping centre or be able to grab the food off shelves in the supermarket. So that is exactly what we go and do. Because we have the time to spend with our clients and the freedom to plan the week to suit them, we always try to add in something that’s fun, functional and not at the clinic. Those of us who have not lost a limb take for granted the ability to walk over fallen autumn leaves without worrying that your leg will slip, or that you won’t be able to stand up on a moving train or bus to get off. We don’t worry about grabbing things off the shelf while doing our food shop, but it’s tackling those little things that can make a real difference to someone’s life.

Please email Beth with any questions you may have - bethl@dorset-ortho.com