Breaking Bad Habits

We all develop bad habits in our rehab phase to learn how to make the correct movements. For example to learn how to walk again, I had to pick up my knee when I walked. I did this in order for my brain to know that I had to pick up my leg when I walked.

I remember in rehab, my physical therapist would say something to the likes of “heel, toe, knee.” These were all the steps that I needed to do to learn how to walk again. By repeating this in my head, I could not forget the correct steps on how to walk.

Once I learned how to walk correctly (on my own, without a cain) I still was lifting my knee when I was walking. I would lift it in an exaggerated motion, just like I had in rehab to remind me to lift my leg off the ground and swing it forward.

So, it would look like I was doing high knees with one of my legs and not the other. The only way I was able to stop this was by forcing myself to not lift my knee up high. I had to consciously think about my knee and what it was doing, where it was in space.

I would consciously tell my self to keep it straight at an attempt to reverse the affects that rehab had left. When I would practice walking with my mom or dad, I would constantly think about what my leg was doing.

The minute my concentration would run off to something else I would catch myself lifting my knee up way to much. In time though I was able to force my knee down. I began to walk normal again. I noticed something else in my walking though.

When I first started to re-learn how to walk I had developed a habit of kicking my left leg out to the left. So, picture my body going straight as my left leg was going kicking out to the left but would loop around to land in front of me. It made me walk with an awkward limp.

I had to get rid of this, the only way to get rid of this was to concentrate like I had before with my knee. I had to consciously tell my self, watch my left leg. Make sure it goes in a straight land and lands in front of me. So, I tried to land my left foot right in front of me and parallel to my right.

In time I was able to walk in a straight line, I no longer looked like I wobbled.  I must confess though, there are times that I am fatigued or tired and I begin to wobble again. Whenever I loose focus or I personally feel I do not have the power to concentrate, my old habits resurface mildly.

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