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Fiona Pocock: Overcoming Muscle Atrophy

I’ve ticked some great boxes over the last few weeks:

– Cycled on a stationary bike
– Body Weight Squats
– Walking (smooth-ish) without crutches
– Ventured on the Underground

I have one more week off work and then it’s back to reality. I’m looking forward to getting a bit of structure back in my life and to make the most of the time in the day. Sometimes it’s a little too easy to sit and wallow because my only plans are to walk to the gym, do my rehab, then walk back.

To give you an idea of what I’m up against, here are my legs before and after injury:





It’s pretty obvious which one is which but for clarity the left photo was taken 2 weeks before the Six Nations and the right was taken yesterday (the angle is slightly different, but you get the idea).

Muscle Atrophy

As you can see, there has been significant muscle wastage over the past 2 months. The damage to my right leg has meant that I can’t put sufficient resistance through it to maintain the muscle mass I had before. This is called “muscle atrophy” and is a very common problem for those who experience injury.

I am documenting each stage of my rehab to give me drive and motivation to get back to where I was before.

When I look at that photo on the left I am reminded of how strong I can be.

Plus, this photo was taken after my first knee injury (left leg) so to see how a muscle can regain its size and strength is empowering. I just need to do the same this time.

The next phase of my rehab takes me into resistance training to strengthen my new ACL and rebuild surrounding muscle. This is an exciting time as now it actually feels like I’m training, not just rehabbing. I will be attempting to squat deeper, lunge, and even hop over the next month.

But as I said in my last blog, I’m going to focus on tiny goals. I only have two: Get back to work. And walk up and down the stairs without needing the banister. The rest will come. Any hopefully the muscle will too.


About Fee Pocock

Northampton-born Fiona played for Petersfield RFC from 1995-2006, starting at the age of age of seven. She captained Petersfield U16 for two years and went on to represent England U20 and A teams along the way to gaining 22 full caps and scoring 18 Test match tries – including the first in her country’s 2010 WRWC campaign against Ireland.   She became the Sky Sports HD Woman of the Match, along the way to becoming England’s top try-scorer in the pool stages but missed the final against the Black Ferns through a knee injury. Fiona has also played for Richmond in the Dubai Sevens, appeared in the Amsterdam tournament and represented England at the Nations Cup in Canada.  View all posts by Fee Pocock

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