Every time I work out with my trainer, I hear the expression "No pain, no gain." I'm told to "fight for it" when I'm struggling with the weights, and urged to push beyond the pain to complete my reps. "Don't quit. Keep fighting. Ignore the pain." Judging by the bleeding sores that are now covering my stump, I think that I have taken that instruction too literally!
Because the skin on my leg has reduced sensitivity, I often don't know that I have been cut until I remove my liner and see the blood. When I felt a pinching pain at the top of my socket, I should have been more assertive and insisted on stopping. However, in my zeal to prove that I am not a quitter, I tried to shake it off. I am now paying for this arrogance with an oozing and painful limb.
A particularly grueling exercise that included frog squatting, kicking back into a push up, hopping forward again and then standing up, is the culprit. The skin on the back of my stump became pinched between the carbon fiber socket, creating a series of small cuts. The repetition of the exercise caused those small cuts to grow into larger sores.
Staying out of my leg, although prudent, is not a feasible option right now. Robby has to be shuffled to and from school, housework is mounting, and I have other responsibilities. Instead, I've been trying to provide some relief with moleskin and removing my prosthetic whenever possible.
Yesterday I cushioned the sores, took some Tylenol and headed to meet my trainer. I explained the situation and how the injury occurred. I also informed her that I couldn't do any deep squats until my socket is adjusted and the area heals. She said that she understood, but since the first exercise she asked of me involved squatting on the floor, it was clear that I didn't make an impression. I took it upon myself to adapt the movement and continued without asking permission.
After working out, walking was bordering on excruciating. I hobbled directly to the pharmacy, determined to find something better than the moleskin I had been using. Although it has been effective, the adhesive has been sticking and pulling at the fresh scabs, thwarting the healing altogether. In my desperation I bought half a basket full of assorted bandages, ointments and remedies, determined to find something that worked both to protect and heal my pinch cuts.
Finally, after a lot of experimenting, I have found the blister specific bandages to be the most beneficial. They stick to my skin without peeling (no easy task since the cuts are in the bend of my knee) and do not adhere to the open wound. The bandage is coated with an antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection and is thick enough to provide a comfortable cushion between the sores and my socket. After carefully applying a total of four blister bandages, I slipped my liner and leg back on. I was happy to take my first pain free steps since the injury occurred on Friday!
I understand the expression "No pain, no gain." I also know that this fitness endeavor is not worth physically damaging myself. I want to be healthy, but pushing myself into a pinch cut situation is not promoting wellness. From now on I'm just going to adapt the movements when necessary. I know my body, and I know how my socket and limb will react.