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Thread: anyone walking without calve muscles?

  1. #1

    anyone walking without calve muscles?

    I have had increasing recovery in my thighs and a little in the glutes and hamstrings. I am almost standing w/ a walker & walking a little w/ assistants helping lock my knees. I'm hoping to be able to stand w/ a walker and no assistants and wondering if I could walk without recovering calve muscles... Has anyone recovered walking with a walker with absolutely no calve muscles? So far I haven't had a twitch below my knees. I"m 5 yrs post accident and still increasing muscle control & strength with LOTS of hard work and for that I'm very grateful & proud

  2. #2
    I don't see you walking functionally, out in the community. I think you could possibly do it for exercise.

    You should be VERY proud. But if you get so wrapped up in walking that you limit your life, you need to re-think. I was much like that, well I could walk 1/4 mile. It just wasn't functional, practical or realistic. I don't live my life in 1/4 mile increments. I tried everything...going on plane trips and leaving my chair home. Refusing to use my chair in the house.

    I had 1 leg that was probably 75%, with all muscle groups firing, the other w/ no hamstring, no dorsi flexion, basically as you say, nothing from the knee down.

    I use the past tense here because I got a muscle-wasting disease that took all my hard work and made a joke of it.

    My life is much better since I caved and agreed to be a wheelchair user. I still try very hard but I don't avoid activities because the distance is too far for me to walk any more.

    I was down to 1 forearm crutch. Had worked like a crazy person to get there. Was in NYC, used my chair because I wanted a beer and 1 beer would tip me over. Then some jerk stole my crutch! That is when I learned how much faster my chair was.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    I met a Marine who could run the 2 mile PTT with no hamstring in one leg from Blackhawk down.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  4. #4
    Yea, but being able to flex your feet, to roll onto the ball and push off with it, is a big part of mobility. Feeling them would also be a plus.

  5. #5
    To answer your question - yes, it is possible to walk with no calf muscles. You can use bilateral AFOs. In theory, as long as your hip flexors and quads are strong enough, with the appropriate bracing, it is possible.

    But of course it helps a lot to have some butt muscles, and also hip abduction to help stabilize your walking. And to not have hip flexor contractions from all of the time you spend sitting rather then standing (tummy time helps).

    But that doesn't mean it's going to be easy. Bethany has some wise words.

    Congratulations on your recovery. That is really wonderful.

    My father is walking short distances (ex. 250-500 feet) with a walker with bilateral AFOs, weak butt/hamstrings. It is still very hard - every day.

  6. #6
    Hey Darlagee!! I had been wondering where you were.

    Last I heard you were in Hawaii. I'm glad to hear you are having recovery. You were one of the first who helped me with getting KAFOs way over a year ago. Are you still wearing yours? As far as the calf muscles I don't know. I also have nothing below the knee but have been getting stronger in the thighs.
    I really wish you good luck!

  7. #7
    I walk with no calf muscles but I do wear an AFo on my good leg and a KAFO on my bad leg.
    I walk 50-75% of the time and find it easier the more I do it.
    C3/4 Brown Sequard

  8. #8
    Hi Darla - yes, I have seen people walk with bilateral AFOs. Without hamstrings too. I went to a No Barriers Conference that had a lecture from a researcher who is making an AFO which electrically fires the calf muscle for each step.
    I like to think that there is a gradation of functional walking, all of which are extremely valuable and making it worth working very hard to strength whatever leg muscle you have and your upper body to hold on to the walker.
    Even if you can walk 100 yards, things like parking, getting out of car, going into the dentist, going back to the car without getting out a W/C become possible.
    I would keep strengthening every muscle fiber you have, it will only become easier. But maybe at this point use it as exercise and as a way to extend your functionality with your chair.
    I agree with Betheny not to be disappointed if you can't eliminate the w/c, but I would be encouraged and make it a way to exercise and stand and benefit from the big jump in functionality even a little walking gives you.
    I will cheer you on !
    jon

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by hlh View Post
    To answer your question - yes, it is possible to walk with no calf muscles. You can use bilateral AFOs. In theory, as long as your hip flexors and quads are strong enough, with the appropriate bracing, it is possible.

    But of course it helps a lot to have some butt muscles, and also hip abduction to help stabilize your walking. And to not have hip flexor contractions from all of the time you spend sitting rather then standing (tummy time helps).
    I started walking about 12 years ago with no calf muscles at all, and bilateral AFO's. Did not have a lot of feeling below the knees. It was very hard, exhausting, but as the months (years) passed, it became easier. Where I lived it was not practical to use a wheelchair, so I was sort of forced to walk this way. I had no butt muscles or abductors, just hip flexors, quads and hamstrings.

    After a couple of years I was able to stop using the left AFO, getting partial return on my left ankle. Although I still need something on my right ankle (a flexible brace), the more I walked, the better the ankles seemed to adapt to the gait pattern. Recently I have gotten butt muscles and abductors..

    I think you should keep trying. You have had wonderful results already, and it seems that you have a lot of time and energy to go a bit further. Good luck.

  10. #10
    At first, I could not walk very well because I could not feel much below the waist. I am sensory incomplete and have all of my motor functions. However, I had to work at getting those muscles to behave again. I still have trouble pushing off the ball of my right foot as clonus takes over. Plus I do have stiffness that seems to take over in my butt and in my legs. My left side seems to be the better side.I am 19 months past injury so I hoping it will get better but I am not sure.

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