by Al J
(Georgia, USA)

I spent 13 weeks on a wheel chair after a broken ankle. I also suffered with sciatica for years. I feel like my thigh muscles have gotten extremely weak and I'm 73-74 years young. How do I get back in shape?

That's a long time, and it's going to take some persistence on your part to regain the strength of your quadriceps muscles. It's essential, or you'll be permanently disabled.

Without good quads you won't be able to get up from a chair, walk confidently or climb stairs.

A good place to start is two very simple exercises.
1. Sitting, straight each leg parallel to the ground, not together, but one at a time. Lots of them. In fact, should have been advised to do this all along.

2. Quad setting is where you sit on the edge of the chair, careful not to slip off, both legs straight, heels on the ground. This will take some practice, many folk battle to get it. Tighten the quadriceps muscles (do both legs together) so that the kneecap bobs up towards the hip. If you place your hands on the thigh muscles, you should feel them contract.

Do these for a couple weeks, and then we'll talk about something more strenuous.

Work at it if you want to regain your independence.

Dr B

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