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story.lead_photo.caption (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Celia Storey)

I spent my childhood eating. The only exercise I got was trying to twist off the cap of a jar of mayonnaise.

— Richard Simmons

Right after the first of the new year I had gotten used to the idea that I needed to add exercise back into my daily routine. I was doing the old "getting geared up" thing that usually precedes my starting to do anything I don't enjoy. I never made it to the next stage of deciding what I was going to do.

Instead, I noticed a small wound on my right ankle bone. Because of my Charcot neuroarthropathy, my ankle bone juts out and I walk on the side of the foot. I wear my darn old brace still, but my foot has changed a bit over the last few years, and the brace isn't very effective. The wound was due to the ankle rubbing against the brace. There's no padding on my ankle or the brace.

My mother twisted my arm and made me go to an urgent care center. There I got a strong antibiotic, which cleared up the infection, but this wound won't heal. Mom and I decided it was time for wound care. I tried to get in at the place I used the last time I had an infected foot, but they couldn't see me until the end of the month.

But thank God for the Wound Care Center at Arkansas Heart Hospital. It never dawned on me that they'd have a wound care center, but it makes sense, really. They treat many types of wounds that include diabetic and pressure ulcers, non-healing surgical wounds, traumatic wounds and radiation tissue damage. They also offer hyperbaric medicine, bioengineered skin substitutes and vacuum-assisted closures for things like carbon monoxide poisoning, crush injuries, decompression sickness and the dreaded bite of the brown recluse spider.

The treated me last Monday, and I'm going back this morning to see how I'm healing. I'm hoping for the best.


Mobility issues can really be a pain, especially when it comes to exercise. I always loved to walk for exercise, but I can't do it these days. I find that my ankle will start to throb, and because I walk unevenly, my hips are thrown off balance, which makes my back ache, and my legs wear out easily.

We think of elderly people having such trouble, but mobility problems can happen at any age. But I have found that limited mobility doesn't mean we can't experience health benefits from exercise. Along with the physical benefits, exercise can boost our mood, ease depression, relieve stress and anxiety and boost our feelings of self-worth.

According to an article on the website of The International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet (, it is important to combine three types of exercise in a daily routine. It might be good to consult your doctor for recommendations on the types of exercises to try and their duration, and the doctor might also point out exercises to avoid based on your specific condition.

The three types we need in our routine are:

◼️ Flexibility exercises, like yoga and stretching, can help prevent injuries and might prevent stiffness as well as relieve pain. They can also help to prevent muscle atrophy.

◼️ Cardiovascular exercises are important for maintaining and increasing endurance and raising the heart rate. They can include water aerobics and swimming, running, cycling and walking. I think many of us with mobility concerns are not out there running.

I enjoyed water aerobics, but with a work schedule change, I couldn't make it anymore. And many places offer them in the morning, which isn't good for many folks who work days. Even someone who is wheelchair-bound can be helped into the pool and float around if nothing else, but most centers with pools don't allow people with open wounds to swim.

◼️ Strength training exercises help preserve bone and build up muscle mass, and they normally involve weights. This allows us to focus on the more mobile parts of our bodies.

I like to use strength-training bands. They are easy to store and can be used a variety of ways.

Over the last few years, I've developed a fondness for chair exercise. It doesn't put stress on my foot and believe it or not, it is effective. You can use hand weights or bands, and there are videos featuring a variety of musical styles and even chair yoga.

We'll dig into that in my next column.

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Style on 02/24/2020

Print Headline: Pain limits mobility, exercise options

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