During the first months of recovering from my limb lengthening surgeries (tibias in mid March and femurs in early April 2018), I wasn't myself, on a deep psychological level. I lacked motivation to do most things but go to PT, and nothing was interesting anymore - not even checking my Facebook, email or notifications on my phone.
I wasn't alone. Other LL patients have suffered from the same major apathy, basically becoming couch potatoes.
Today I stumbled upon a piece of newly published research that helps explain this:
Groundbreaking research shows that neurological health depends as much on signals sent by the body's large, leg muscles to the brain as it does on directives from the brain to the muscles. Published today in Frontiers in Neuroscience, the study fundamentally alters brain and nervous system medicine [...]
"Our study supports the notion that people who are unable to do load-bearing exercises—such as patients who are bed-ridden, or even astronauts on extended travel—not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted"
Limiting physical activity decreased the number of neural stem cells by 70 percent compared to a control group of mice, which were allowed to roam. Furthermore, both neurons and oligodendrocytes—specialized cells that support and insulate nerve cells—didn't fully mature when exercise was severely reduced.
The research shows that using the legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercise, sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells, essential for the brain and nervous system. Cutting back on exercise makes it difficult for the body to produce new nerve cells—some of the very building blocks that allow us to handle stress and adapt to challenge in our lives.
This makes me urge anyone considering LL to only look at weight-bearing nails, out of which STRYDE is by far the best because you can walk unaided 3-4 weeks after the surgery and there's no painful clicking as with the Guichet nail. Plus, STRYDE is a reversible nail, which is crucial in case of non-unions.