Wednesday, August 29, 2012

physical therapy

So, last week's therapy was a bit of a wash.  I have been getting assigned roaming PTs (rather than getting a consistent PT or a PT that's right for me).  I had a feeling that last week's exercises weren't quite right, but I'm not the professional.  Last week, I was instructed to:
  • balance on one foot with my eyes closed, 3 x 30 seconds
  • calf stretch
  • scrunch up the width of a hand towel under my foot x 10
  • a whole bunch of ankle exercises with a theraband.  At first, I got an orange one and it was extremely easy.  I asked for something more and we went up 2 levels.  It was still pretty easy.
Last week's therapist quizzed me on the state of my calf muscle.  I am convinced that the tighness in my calf (which gets so tight while running that my foot goes numb) pulled on my heel bone so much that it caused the fracture.  I mentioned the my calf knots to last week's PT and she kept calling them "cramps" and quizzing me on my banana intake.  :eyeroll:  Thursday she actually touched my calf and only then did she say "wow, these are knots and they are not moving".  Yep.

Yesterday I met with a new PT (Becky) and she immediately began poking around on the bottom of my foot and noted that my plantar fascae is crazy tight.  She then commented on how that likely contributed to my fracture (ding ding ding!!!)  I told her about my calf and so now we have a bit of a hypothesis going.  I didn't have my calf problems until I moved here and had to run hills.  So my poor calves are freaking out trying to balance out some other muscle imbalances.  Becky tested out some other muscle groups and it was pretty sad.  Apparently I have no glutes.  She is a pilates instructor and I have done years of pilates, so we speak the same language.  The plan is to strengthen my glutes and associated muscles, which will help ease the load on my calves.  And then I get dry needling.  (ick)  But now I feel like I've found someone that is used to working on crazy athletes and knows how to properly treat them.  Hurray! 

So now, my PT exercises look like:
  • scrunch a towel up with my toes and hold it 10 seconds x 10
  • a series of 5 pilates side leg raises, 10 reps, 3 sets.  That's 150 leg raises PER LEG.  And I get to do that 2x a day.  This kills me.  Its seriously hard.
  • modified bridge pose where I extend one leg straight at 45 degrees and hold 10 sec x 10
  • pilates swimming (legs only) but slower.  one series of 30 reps is leg straight, the other is leg bent up at 90 degrees
  • very slow calf raises x 30
  • and my most recent torment, hold my big toe back to stretch my foot and then massage my plantar fascae.  I was muffling my painful whimpers into a pillow last night.  Holy crap, that hurts!
As hard and tedious as this is (its about 1 hr of PT daily), I think this is exactly what I need.  I knew something was really wrong and I needed to correct the base problem.  I think working with Beck should do the trick.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Baby steps towards recovery

I had a 1-month follow up appointment with my doctor last week, to see how the Stupid Broken Foot was doing.  This whole process is slightly bizarre, mainly because my doctor uses pain as an indicator of healing.  That's fine, unless you're me and the foot really never hurt much in the first place.  Sure, it hurt enough to limp, but it wasn't debilitating pain.  And because I never recognized the pain as "broken", I don't trust myself.  My foot still hurts, no where near as much as it used to, but it still aches.  Does that mean its healed or still broken?  Since I never thought it was broken in the first place, I simply do not trust my pain receptors to tell me anything useful now.

I was able to walk without limping.  And the pain is mostly gone. I no longer limp (unless I'm booted).  Based on that, my doctor De-Booted me and told me to start physical therapy and to come back in 5 weeks.  THEN maybe I can start to run.  Ugh.

I had my first PT session today and I wasn't all that impressed.  My legs are visibly different sizes.  I'm beyond cranky that my years of building these muscles are gone and I have to start over.  I was hoping to get some hard core exercises to re-build me.  Instead, I get stretches and balancing.  Apparently, balancing on one foot with your eyes closed for 30 seconds without bobbling is a skill that I need to develop for recovery.  Interesting.  Also: calf stretches.  Duh.  And my arches are flat, so I get to practice bunching up a towel with my toes.  I guess that will give me something to do while watching tv.....

I also met with a new chiropractor today, in hopes of addressing any biomechanical issues.  My evaluation was eye-opening.  I thought I was pretty bendy.  I am, when moving forward, like, touching my toes, doing pigeon pose (my favorite!), anything that involves bending forward.  When it came time to do the reverse - moving backwards - it was a no-go.  My hip flexors and quads are beyond ridiculously tight.  Awesome.  So, I have even more stretches to work on.

Stretching, moving towels, balancing with my eyes closed.  When can I start running???

Friday, August 10, 2012

just blah

There's a whole lot of nothing going on here.  Blah.  My next MRI is in a week, but honestly, I think my foot is still broken.  I can feel the fracture, but I'm not sure if the sensation is that of healing or it still being broken.  I was trying to be upbeat and optimistic (hey, I can work on upper body strength and ride my bike tons!) but in all reality, without a race to motivate me, I have become a slug.  I love swim team, but I can't even motivate myself to do that very often, because I can't kick.  Pulling for 3,000 m is no fun at all.  Neither is being significantly slower than everyone else because you can't kick.  Riding my bike is still fun, but I've been busy doing other things and I really need a fit on the roadie before I can really put in the miles.  My fit is tomorrow so hopefully I can get back up on the bike in time for an early September century ride in Boulder.

Also really sad: my left leg is atrophying.  I can't even describe how sad this makes me feel.

Also really crappy: we've had visitors nearly every weekend, all from out of town.  Out of town people want to go to the mountains and do active things.  I however, am benched from being active.  I'm really pushing it by fly fishing for a few hours.  Which, really, standing around for a few hours isn't very active.

I can't really do a whole lot around the house, so its getting more and more messy.  (Will thinks vacuuming every 3 weeks is all the cleaning that the house needs.....)  Thank goodness we have a freezer full of meat and my weekly fruit/veggie deliveries, or we'd starve.  Even going to the grocery store is hard.

Essentially, my life is frozen and I am being forced into being a couch potato.  I hate it.

Hopefully my MRI comes back clean and then in a MONTH I can start doing active, weight-bearing activities.  I swear, I can hardly even remember that I have IMCDA coming up next June.  Its just so far off and I'm so down in my little cave of unhappiness that this race just doesn't seem like it will happen.  I know it will, but right now, I can't really think about it.  Mainly because once healed, my next month will be spent cleaning the house and taking care of all the crap that I was supposed to do this summer but haven't been able to.