So much of what I have achieved on my Movementwise Journey has been as a result of 2 key factors:
- That I felt understood, not as an injury, but as a whole person in the context of my life.
- That I was supported by a team of professionals who helped put me back on the right track.
In this day and age with so much choice on the internet, it can feel overwhelming, and impossible to know who to turn to. And the danger is that we end up doing nothing. MovementWise helped me pull together my all-important rehab team. It is made up of health and training professionals, friends and family and looks like this:
MY HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
The Best Surgeon: After surgery on a torn meniscus in my knee left me virtually unable to do the simplest of tasks such as walk, climb the stairs or drive my car; I knew I needed a second opinion. Yet, it was only after the opinions of two more consultants that I realised how serious the problem was. Without hesitation, Tania recommended Professor MacKay, a Scottish-based, world-renowned orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in complicated knee problems. Used to working with rugby players, skiers and elite athletes, Professor Mackay listened as I, a 50 year old woman and no athlete, explained my issues and, although still unwilling to promise me a full recovery at that stage, undertook to operate on me. A year later I can confidently say that the operation was a complete success – meaning that I am back on skis, walking up mountains and fitter than I have been for years. Professor Mackay’s skill, knowledge and experience made him undeniably the right man for the job.
My Life-changing Physio: Tania Cotton, the founder of MovementWise took on the challenge of getting me back on my feet and skis. Tania has not just worked on my knee but on the whole of me. She has made me aware of how I walk, stand, sit, and move through life so that I feel more competent and confident in everything I do. Over the past 9 months Tania has helped me discover a new normal. I am now stronger, fitter, straighter, taller, healthier than I have been on years. Nine months ago, I could hardly walk to the car now I can walk for 8 hours with my dogs, nonstop, and ski with my family. I am enjoying new physical challenges daily. I am so grateful to Tania for giving me hope, getting me back on track and for all the advice I have received along the way.
A Practical Nutritionist: During the three years I was in pain with a sore hip and then a painful knee, I over-ate. I have struggled to keep my weight down all my adult life and have often turned to food in times of boredom and low morale. So when the pain was too great for me to be able to take any exercise, once again, I turned to food for comfort. After my operation, to give my knee the best chance of a full recovery, and for me to feel I was in control of my life again, I was recommended Rebecca Dent, a dietician and nutrionist. Although based in the UK, Rebecca often works near Chamonix, here in the French Alps. She specialises in nutrition for high-performance athletes, but she has many years of clinical experience with the NHS. Her no-nonsense, practical advice about food was so embarrassingly obvious that it made utter sense to follow it.
An Orthotist: I have flat feet which makes my ankles roll in, so my legs and knees follow suit. I genuinely had no idea that this could be corrected, especially at my age. I was advised to see Robbie Rooney in Glasgow who made me a pair of custom-made insoles that I put in my shoes, skis and walking boots. These insoles give my feet support from the ground up, helping my bottom muscles wake up and do their work to align my legs from my pelvis down. This enables my shins, knees and hips to be in a position that minimises stress and strain, which in turn allows me to walk without pain. It took a couple of weeks to get used to wearing them, but now, I cannot imagine not.
My Swimming Teacher: I grew up miles away from a public pool and although the beach was not far, it was the north west of Scotland, so we never swam. Tania convinced me that I would benefit from beginning my rehab down at the public swimming pool, so I needed to learn how to swim. For several months I walked in deep water with a buoyancy belt so that I could work on my posture, move my hips and knees freely against the gentle resistance of the water whilst getting stronger, more flexible, fitter and reducing the swelling in my knee. This gave me the confidence and conviction to learn how to swim. Stephanie Sirop taught me how to perfect my appalling breast stroke and she is now teaching me how to do the front crawl. Learning a new skill at my age is hard but learning how to co-ordinate my arms, my body, my legs, my head and breathe whilst under water is, frankly, an enormous challenge. Stephanie has a straight-talking manner and the patience of a saint and although I am no Rebecca Adlington (yet), I am getting there.
My Skiing Instructor: I hadn’t skied for two years due to my knee injuries so getting back on skis was very exciting but a little bit nerve wracking. I am not someone who grew up on skis so I needed to be sure that I was moving in a way that was healthy not harmful for my body. I had a day up on the ski slopes with Anne Bosvieux from Chamonix. Tania’s recommendation was based on the fact that not only is Anne an excellent ski instructor and guide, and a very lovely person, but she has also experienced years of knee problems, operations and rehabilitation herself so if anyone would understand my knee needs, it would be Anne. Other than the tips Anne gave me for skiing, she also gave me some wonderfully practical advice to minimise my risk of feeling pain whilst putting on and taking off my skis, walking in ski boots and tips on how to protect myself whilst on the slope.
Friends and Family: My family and friends are key players in my support team. No one supports me like they do. Not used to me being broken and afraid, my children and husband have been keen to get me back on my feet and joining in our family activities such as skiing, walking and sailing. Likewise, my friends. Together they have supported and encouraged me along the road to recovery. Little walks have become longer walks, two-hour skiing sessions have turned into day-long ones and my quiet little yoga practice in my own living room has become a group activity with friends again. I thank the patience, kindness and understanding of everyone and the determination and stubbornness of those few who would not let me rest, stop, quit when the going got tough.
MovementWise Journey Insights
Mairi knew she needed help but didn’t know where to find it. Having already experienced one failed knee surgery, Mairi didn’t know which way to turn. She came to us at MovementWise to find a team she could trust.
In Life No One Person Will Fix All Your Problems or Meet All Your Needs.
It is essential to get help from the right person for the right problem. It sounds so simple, yet many people will seek nutritional advice from a GP who may have had less than 2 hours training on nutrition in their whole medical career if any at all. Or expect a surgeon to be an expert on human movement. As health and performance professionals we all need to work together and the more we understand each other, the more we are able to help you.
Finding the right health or performance professional can be a huge challenge. Our advice is:
- Ask for a recommendation from a health or performance professional who knows YOU, how you live and what sports and activities you like to do.
- Ask yourself, “Is this person looking at me as ‘an injury’ or ‘a disease’ or as a whole person in the context of MY life?”
- Does this person claim to be the answer to all your problems or are they clear about how they can help you?
- Can they connect you to other professionals with different expertise and experience from whom you can benefit – a dietician, a sports coach, a councellor?
Remember a good health care professional is someone who:
- Knows their strengths but also acknowledges their limitations.
- Believes in collaboration above competition.
- Recognises that their patients are their greatest teachers.
Life is a physical, mental and emotional dance we have to keep practicing in order to maintain our balance. Our main aim as health and performance professionals is to help you to be an active participant in life for the whole of your life, in the way that enables you to thrive and feel truly alive.
When you take the time to build a trusted team around you, your eyes will be opened to a new world of possibility. Dare to discover just how much you are capable of!
‘You don’t stop dancing because you get old, you get old because you stop dancing’.