Monday, January 30, 2012

Self Defense Techniques to Consider if You're Using Crutches

Being on crutches can put you in a vulnerable position when it comes to self defense. Unfortunately, attackers often prey on people who are less likely to run or fight back.

Rather than a sign of weakness, though, borrowing from some martial arts techniques, a crutch could be used as a defense weapon.

Consider, for instance, the Hapkido self-defense techniques used with a Bo Staff.

In this video, the staff is used to defend against an attacker by striking the eyes:

And, this video demonstrates a similar technique, using the staff to strike an attacker in the stomach:

In this slightly more difficult technique, the staff is used to defend against an attacker who has grabbed the victim:

You don't have to have martial arts training to borrow from these techniques. Considering your crutch as a defense weapon could be enough to scare away an attacker, or allow you time to yell and call for help.

In addition to the bo staff techniques, there's a growing discipline called "cane-fu" - self defense using a cane. Again, while not the same device, some of these techniques could be adapted for a crutch. Watch more in this news story:

There are merely suggestions of ways to defend against an attacker, should you find yourself in that situation. The best protection is to prepare and be proactive - try not to travel alone, chose routes that are well lit and easier to navigate, always carry a cell phone and don't hesitate to cal for help if any situation feels off, and although mobility is difficult, always focus on your surroundings so that you are alert and confident.

If you are interested in additional training, the International Disabled Self-Defense Association has a program of self-defense techniques for individuals with disabilities. These programs can be found in their video library. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Healthy Foods to Eat When Recovering from Surgery or Injury

It's commonly understood that healthy eating leads to a healthier body. More specifically, though, certain foods have been found to possess specific properties that contribute to healing, which can be incredibly beneficial when recovering from injury or surgery.

Photo by Nutrilover
Creative Commons License
Here are some foods that can help fight infection and contribute to bone strength:

Honey - antibacterial and antiviral properties have been known to help heal wounds.

Blueberries - rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Pomegranate - features high levels of antioxidants.

Watercress - contains nutrients that build the immune system and support bone health.

Spinach - possesses Vitamin C and beta carotene which have anti-inflammatory qualities.

Carrots - contain antioxidants called carotenoids that help to stimulate the immune system.

Kale - contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Milk - calcium helps bone strength and healing.

Canned Salmon - Salmon bones are high in calcium (important for bone strength), and in canned salmon, soft enough to eat.

"Let Food Be Thy Medicine: Top 10 Healing Foods of the Decade," Huffington Post

"12 Foods with Super-Healing Powers," Care2Make a Difference

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tips for Keeping a New Year's Resolution

According to a  2007 study by Richard Wisemen, 78% of New Year's resolutions will fail. 

Want to make sure that you are in the successful minority? We suggest that you play it S.M.A.R.T. 

A big contributing factor to the failure to meet any goal is the lack of proper goal setting from the beginning. SMART goals - that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely,  have been used by individuals and businesses for decades as a roadmap to successful achievement.

To make your resolution a SMART one, make sure that it is...

Among the most common New Year's resolutions is weight loss. However, resolving to "lose weight" is incredibly vague. Turning that vague resolution into a goal by adding parameters such as "eat healthier foods and exercise in order to lose 10 pounds before my high school reunion" provides a more specific action to work toward.

If a goal is specific, then the measurable results should be clear. It is important to know exactly how you will know if the goal has been met, and even more, to have ways to measure success along the way. For example, when recovering from an injury, full function of the injured limb is the ultimate goal, but healthcare professionals will look for incremental milestones - range of motion, strength, endurance, etc. - along the way.

In order to measure your goal, you need to know where you started, and how you will know if you are done. Back to the weight-loss example, you need to not only know your goal weight, but your starting weight, and monitor changes as you progress. Having a measurable goal with milestones by which to track progress will put you on the path to success.  

There's absolutely nothing wrong with reaching for the stars, but to ensure successful completion of a goal, it should be realistic...challenging, but, doable. For instance, if you've never been much of a reader, resolving to get through the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series is maybe not the most attainable goal. Consider something like, "I'm going to try to set aside an hour per week to read, and read the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones. 

If you're not personally invested in your resolution, you're not likely to stick with it. Your goal should address something that you care about personally, so that you are more driven to ensure a successful outcome. For example, a resolution to "Find a pool and swim a mile per week" may not be nearly as relevant and personal to you as, "Start a regular walking regiment so I can walk my kids to school next fall."

Goals should have a deadline or they'll have a tendency to loom forever. For a New Year's resolution/goal, it's usually assumed that December 31 is the deadline. The trouble with that, however, is that in January, the end of the year seems so far away and the next thing you know, it's November and you haven't even gotten started.  Setting deadlines for your incremental measurements can help with this. Or, toss out the yearly parameter all together and set a deadline of June'll reap the reward of successful completion that much sooner!

Lastly, as an added measure, it helps to have support and accountability. If you share your goal with others, and have them help to hold you accountable (maybe chose someone who has a similar goal) you'll have additional momentum to propel your success.

Happy 2012! If you're open, share your goals for the year in the comments, and any ideas you have for making sure they are met with success.

Monday, December 19, 2011

10 Inspiring Movies to Get You Through the Holidays

The Holidays are upon us and, unfortunately, if you're laid up from surgery or on crutches, all of the merriment can be a bit overwhelming. Our suggestion? Curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and settle in to a marathon of movies featuring inspirational characters who beat the odds.

Image by *USB* ; Creative Commons
Borrowing from "Best Inspirational Movie" lists by Movies Crunch, TopTenz, and Couples Company, we compiled this list of 10 inspiring movies.

In no particular order...

  1. It's a Wonderful Life  A man is visited on Christmas Eve by his guardian angel who shows him all that he's done for others during his life.  
  2. Chariots of Fire Two competing Olympic athletes forge a friendship against all odds.  
  3. Field of Dreams An Iowa farmer builds a baseball diamond in his fields where legends from the Chicago Black Sox come to play. 
  4. Mr. Holland's Opus High school music teacher and composer realizes success is in how you define it. 
  5. Rocky A struggling boxer gets his one chance against a heavyweight champion. 
  6. Cinderella Man Another story of a boxer who became an unexpected champion. 
  7. World's Fastest Indian A New Zealander builds an Indian motorcycle and sets a world record. 
  8. The Sound of Music A woman leaves the convent and becomes a governess to children - finding unforeseen love and family. 
  9. The Pursuit of Happiness A struggling businessman loses everything, yet with custody of his son, preservers to make ends meet.  
  10. Shawshank Redemption Two men, while in prison, forge an uncommon friendship.  

What would you add?

Monday, December 12, 2011

One leg surgery. Two titanium plates. 11 Screws. And, the road to recovery.

This guest post is written by Kathilyn Solomon, a writer/editor and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) practitioner and a Mobilegs user in week seven of recovery. Reach her at

A Cat. A Skateboard. A Sunny Day. Recipe For Disaster? 

It started innocently enough. With a skateboard. A sunny autumn day. And a cat. But when you take all three and add a middle-aged woman who has only occasionally skateboarded, these three things are a recipe for disaster.

Yes, in answer to your question, I fell. And caught the cat instead of catching my fall. My leg. Ouch. Broke two bones, one with many broken pieces. One surgery, two titanium plates and 11 screws later, I am in recovery.

No Weight Six Weeks.

You don’t just get a walking cast after breaking a tibia and fibula, I learned. You get a warning to avoid putting any weight whatsoever on the leg for the first six weeks.

The first weeks were the hardest.

First, there was the surgical pain. Incisions four inches long on either side of my right calf starting at the ankle. I keep thinking – how did they do it. How did they cut into me? Was there a lot of blood? What side did they start the knife on?

How to Get to the Bathroom.

There were the practical questions, like when I woke in the middle of the night, not only once but several times (full disclosure, I am an intimate friend of menopause, which means that I waken in the night with steam pouring off my chest… they should use the hot flashes – aka power surges – of menopausal women as a power source to heat the nation.) – how do I get from here to the bathroom without peeing in my pants? Yes, if you have broken leg or ankle bones, you are probably dealing with that, too, initially.

Crawl – It Works!

The pain was so intense that I didn’t want to move, but I had to go. Crawling helped. A lot. I used my son’s soccer pads as kneepads as cushion.

CAM Boot Issue

After the splint was taken off and I was given an Air boot, a CAM boot, I believe they call it. I was given this instruction only:

Stay off it and don’t put yarrow in the cast. Come back in one month to see me.

Drugged with painkillers as I was, I nodded.

Once home, my ankle, which heretofore had felt pretty darn good, started hurting. By evening? Excruciating. What El Doctor and his assistant did not tell but what I found online after researching is that unlike the splint, which is custom fit, the boot is one size fits all – and not for everyone, at least initially.

It was heavy enough to pull my hip out of joint and it caused a bunch of bruising on my foot where there had been none before.

It had pushed on the ankle causing internal bruising and somehow, the entire area where the boot covered my foot began swelling and was bruised now.

I decided no more boot for now. Got a lightweight splint. None of the doctors believed that the boot had caused this problem, but then, so what?

Mobilegs Helped Me Land – And Cruise

In addition to crawling, I began using Mobilegs. This was after the regular crutches started giving me problems under the arms and also they were very jarring. Mobilegs have shock absorbers like my old maroon interior leather Cadillac – nice. It feels good to land. I love them.

Massages Helped With the Water Swelling

To help alleviate the pain from the water swelling – I did not like to have my son see me crying too much from pain, I got a massage – on the foot – not on the broken bones, but the foot where the swelling was.

And the edema (water stuck in there) began to go down and drain. Then I got another massage, and it got even better. And so on. Or, and so it goes, as Mr. Kurt Vonnegut (RIP) would say.

It still is slightly swollen some weeks later, but I am wholly on the mend – and just started Physical Therapy!