Exercises to strengthen the legs

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popsie
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 271
   Posted 5/14/2009 9:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Gretchen,

I just read that you say you do some specific exercises that you feel has kept your legs strong. Would it be possible to describe them to me, or post a link, so I could see if they can help my leg weakness.

I am sure there might be a lot of people who would be interested.

I used to be a gymnast & always played lots of sport. Now I ride my crosstrainer forwards & backwards, use a stepper, do raises off chair, stand on one leg but have only managed to improve the weakness a little.

Thanks turn
Have had relapsing/remitting MS since 10 yrs old. Secondary/progressive since 1995. Baclofen pump since 2008.
Plant your own garden & decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
Know that you are strong, worthy and can learn & endure.


Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3123
   Posted 5/14/2009 11:19 PM (GMT -6)   
lymekiller, thanks for the input, but most of us know how this disease works.  You can still have leg weakness with MS.  It can occur from atrophy from a brain issue.  The brain doesn't send the message, the muscle stops getting used and then you get atrophy ya know.  Sometimes the atrophy is very localized and you can build up the muscles around it to compensate.  Just like if you have spasticity (also from brain disfunction) you can still stretch those muscles and ease the spasticity. 
 
The exercises I do: 1) I do deep knee bends also called squats. I do these with and without weights (be careful, you have to have good knees).  2) I also stand on the edge of a step and do lifts with my calf muscles.  3) I do leg lifts from my side.  I lie on my side and raise my leg straight up.  I do this lying against a wall so that I don't cheat by pulling my leg forward of center.  I check my position by checking that my heel nearly touches the wall behind me.  Those are the ones that my PT indicated that I needed.  The one I am constantly doing....literally three or four times a day are the squats.  I do a ten at a time.  I pause at the bottom to make the muscles work harder.  I do these very deeply......it helps stretch the spasticity at the same time.  I use to have to do this in the kitchen so I could spot myself with the counter at first.  I would pull myself up with the counter.  Now I can just stand up from a deep squat.
 
I hope these help.  If not, try to get some time with a good PT.  Mine happen to have MS herself.  She was outstanding at evaluating muscle weakness and telling me exactly what to do.  She then checked that I was doing the exercise exactly the correct way.
 
 
Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006
 
I have no lesions on my soul and so I will live with no limits.


Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3123
   Posted 5/14/2009 11:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh I just thought of something else.  When I was first doing the squats, I had trouble doing the deep ones.  She had me use a straight backed chair......like a dining room type chair.  You stand just forward of where you would be to sit on it.  You bend your knees like you are going to sit, you let your bum just barely touch the edge but don't sit.  Then you go ahead and stand up.  You can do this with hands on hips or you can counter balance by raising your hands in front of yourself, chest high as you squat. 
 
Let me know if these don't make sense.  I will try to explain them differently.  Again, PT is how I learned these.  They are specific for my leg weakness.
Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006
 
I have no lesions on my soul and so I will live with no limits.


popsie
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 271
   Posted 5/15/2009 12:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks, that was just what I wanted.

It definitely has been my experience that I must try to keep doing everything I can. If I stop doing something cos its too hard soon I wont be able to do anything. I was told to stop exercising last year - that it was causing the muscle spasms. I stopped for 2 weeks and coulds never start again.

I used to do those leg lifts but can no longer get down on the floor. I am going to try on the bed. turn
Have had relapsing/remitting MS since 10 yrs old. Secondary/progressive since 1995. Baclofen pump since 2008.
Plant your own garden & decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
Know that you are strong, worthy and can learn & endure.


popsie
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 271
   Posted 5/18/2009 6:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Gretchen,

You were right about the knees needing to be strong. My right knee complained after I did squats, I was trying to strengthen the left leg but the right is the strong one so tends to take the strain. So I found ways to only strengthen the left leg making sure the right does not carry much weight as I have to look after the right as it carries me up stairs.
Have had relapsing/remitting MS since 10 yrs old. Secondary/progressive since 1995. Baclofen pump since 2008.
Plant your own garden & decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
Know that you are strong, worthy and can learn & endure.


popsie
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 271
   Posted 5/25/2009 6:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Just thought I would mention that I do not see instant or even quick improvement to any exercises BUT there is definitely some improvement. I have had the pump a year with immediate easing in the total rigidity of the left leg. Nonetheless it has taken me a full year to get near to being balanced on both legs and the left is still a lot weaker. Maybe next year........
Have had relapsing/remitting MS since 10 yrs old. Secondary/progressive since 1995. Baclofen pump since 2008.
Plant your own garden & decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
Know that you are strong, worthy and can learn & endure.

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