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I want to get physical- therapy, that is!

Monday, October 18, 2010

So, when I last blogged, I had just visited my doctor and gotten a diagnosis of peroneal tendinitis/sprained ankle, and was referred to physical therapy. The PT department of the health center was booked up until early November, so I had to find one on my own. After trying to find something close to work through my insurance provider ( their website is not exactly user-friendly), I gave up and found someplace in my town that had a decent range of hours that took my insurance. As luck would have it, they just happened to have an opening that day. In fact, one of the PTs was on vacation, so that was the only open spot all week! I've never had PT, so I had no idea what to expect.

I met my PT, Jennifer, and after she asked me a series of questions about my medical history, allergies and any cultural limitations she should know about, she started evaluating my strength, balance, and flexibility. She confirmed that my right leg is slightly longer, but that my scoliosis makes this more of an issue than it might be because my hip is higher than is accounted for by the leg length discrepency. Two things she noted during evaluation: the good, my legs are very strong, even the injured leg (though it is weaker than the right leg); the bad, my calves are extremely tight. The dorsiflexion angle on my left leg is -1 degree and the right leg is 1 degree. Average is 20 degrees! This may be the root cause of several of my leg issues. She also cringes every time I bend my knee, because it has a rather loud, crunching noise. I told her it doesn't hurt so it's a minor annoyance. The battle plan going forward is to get the ankle healed, then stretch and strengthen the muscles.

After the evaluation part, Jennifer first did an ultrasound treatment on the tendon. This is supposed to promote circulation so it heals faster. Then she did a manual massage of the area. Then she used an electrical stimulation device on my ankle and just above my knee. This stimulates the muscles to gently contract to strengthen and promote circulation for healing. While using the stim, I also had an ice wrap around my ankle. And that was pretty much all there was to the first session. Oh! We did set up three appointments a week for the next four weeks, and Jennifer told me to a) do a 5-10 minute ice massage rather than using the generalized ice pack I was using, and b) wear my running shoes and orthotics at all times for the next two weeks. Doesn't matter if I'm at work, running errands, or working around the house, I have to wear my running shoes. So now I'm trying to limit my work clothes to things that won't clash too badly with gray and purple Sauconys!

I did buy a pair of plain black Reebok walking shoes at JC Penney on the way home, but they're going to go back to the store. My co-workers are pretty supportive of all of this, so they won't care what I have on my feet, and my Sauconys are just so comfortable and supportive. However, the four new pairs of pants I also bought at Penney's are staying with me! I stumbled onto a "door buster" sale by about a half hour and bought (non-stretch) jeans, a pair of olive cords, a pair of chestnut brown cords, and a pair of gray/black herringbone tweed trousers- all size 14 and none over $17.99! Everything fit, but they are all a bit more snug than is precisely comfortable. Give me another week, though, and they'll look great!

On Saturday, I had a dentist appointment in the morning and finally followed up with another blood test for my thyroid at the lab. I ran into my Pilates instructor unexpectedly at the lab and gave her the rundown on my PT. I told her that Jennifer kept remarking on my leg strength during the evaluation, and that I had told her one of the positions (a parallel side leg raise) was very similar to one we'd done in Pilates- though drawing circles with our feet in Pilates, rather than having a PT try to press the lower leg back down. Judy, my instructor, asked if she could quote me about that on her website! I spent the rest of the day zoned out and watching TV with my leg propped up on pillows and doing my ice massages. On Sunday, I was babysitting and hemming my niece's suit for her adoption hearing (YAY!), so I wasn't able to do as much icing or elevating as I should have. Also, genuflecting at church and getting down on the floor to snuggle a shy cat are apparently bad things to do with a healing ankle! The more you know, people!

I had my second PT appointment this morning. This time, Jennifer did the ultrasound and massage routine, and then I did some mild stretching and strengthening isometric exercises. These were also given to me as homework. In addition, I was told to practice picking up a Kleenex with my toes, because I'll be picking up marbles on my next visit. After the exercises, I got 15 minutes with the stim and the ice wrap. I asked about going to the gym and using the exercise bike tonight, but she advised me to give it two more days of healing. My ankle is much less inflamed, but the pain was only about 30% better this morning and she doesn't want me using it for any kind of cardio until it's at least 50% better. Now, of course, it feels like it's about 60% better. The adoption hearing is on Wednesday afternoon, so the earliest I'll be able to work out again is Thursday. Joy! I just love waiting, so much! (I am occasionally filled with the spirit of sarcasm.)

I didn't exactly make great choices food-wise this weekend. I had a Beef n' Cheddar and curly fries from Arby's on Thursday, a gutbuster value meal (the one with the Mexican pizza) from Taco Bell on Friday, and a Baja salad, small fries and a small Frosty at Wendy's on Saturday. While I have allowed myself to eat fast food on occasion since I began Sparking, my choices have always fit into at least my calorie guidelines for the day, if not the fat guidelines. This weekend, I basically went a little nuts. I think it was two parts comfort eating and one part "crime of opportunity." I was hungry and I was not at home, so I ate what was handy and sounded tasty. The funny thing is, I stepped on the scale this morning expecting to see a number north of 200 and got 196- a pound lighter than my last weigh-in! I really don't get it. I haven't worked out. I've eaten the wrong things too often. The only thing I can figure is that my other meals on those days were pretty skimpy. On Friday, for instance, I had a banana and a granola bar before my doctor's appointment and then nothing but a mini-scone and a cup of skim milk hot cocoa before that Beef n' Cheddar. That is a whole different kettle of bad nutrition choices. You can't starve yourself and then gorge on fast food! It just doesn't work in the long run. I need my whole grains and veggies! Today I am back on track, but trying to stick to the lower end of the calorie range because of the lack of exercise.

Did I mention I hate not working out and wish exercise restrictions would die in a fire? But I do like PT so far. My ankle is feeling better and stronger and I feel like there's an end to this frustration coming soon. I'll be a good and patient... patient, but I gotta tell you, monkey-grabbing tissues is no replacement for a good run!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FUNFROG79 10/19/2010 8:52AM

    Great work on the PT, it's painful but worth it! emoticon

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 10/19/2010 12:09AM

    Ah yes, tight calves. I still remember my first session with the trainer where he introduced me to the foam roller and had me use it on my calves. Youzah! It hurt so much but it helps soooo much.

Glad to hear that PT is going so well. You'll be running up a storm in no time!

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FOXXYROXXYD 10/18/2010 7:46PM

    Yay! Glad to hear that your ankle is already feeling better! Keep up the great work with PT and you'll be back on the road in no time!

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KARVY09 10/18/2010 5:25PM

    I wish I had one of those ultrasound machines at home. I loved that sucker when I went to PT. I'm glad your sessions are going well.

Have you tried boxing to try to punch out that lack of exercise anxiety?

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Saw the doctor this morning

Friday, October 15, 2010

I had my doctor's visit this morning for my ankle. He evaluated it and recommended I continue with PRICE (now with extra P!), increase my dosage of ibuprofen, and get some formal physical therapy. If therapy doesn't improve the situation, I'll go in for an MRI. He thinks it's unlikely it's peroneal tendon subluxation, which was my great fear. Since I'm a big worrywort, I'm not completely ruling it out. His diagnosis is ankle sprain and peroneus tendinitis.

Since I'm anxious to get back to being active (with or without running), I found a physical therapist in my town and got an appointment this afternoon. In less than an hour, as a matter of fact! My PT is yet another Jennifer. It's times like this I wish I had my DIS boards rolleyes emoticon! The PT office just happens to be right next door to the restaurant I ate at prior to discovering my dead car situation and walking home in not-so-great shoes the night before my last 5K and subsequent ankle issues. It kind of feels like coming whole circle!

I've never been to PT, so this should be interesting. I'm curious about how ankle PT works.

So it looks like it's another boring, frustrating weekend on the couch for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITERARY_CHICK 10/18/2010 1:53PM

    I saw a joke once showing a drawing of a class picture with all the girls name Jennifer and all the boys named Scott. I know you can appreciate that. Good job being proactive!

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GWCANNON 10/16/2010 2:33PM

    While you are side lined with the ankle, what about trying some of the Chair Exercises that I have seen on Spark? At least it would keep you active while the ankle is healing.
emoticonTake care of yourself and stay Patient by Sparking!!

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FOXXYROXXYD 10/16/2010 11:47AM

    Glad you went to the doctor and that it is hopefully something PT and PRICE will take care of. I, too, am curious about ankle PT so please do share! Have a good weekend - do some ST for your arms!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 10/16/2010 1:08AM

    Sounds like things are going in the right direction!

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AMYED79 10/15/2010 2:32PM

    Good luck! Hopefully the PT will be just the ticket to speed up the healing process. :) emoticon

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RAINEMARIE214 10/15/2010 1:35PM

    I've been to ankle PT a few times because as a teenager I had chronic achilles tendonitis (ugh!). I actually found the PT to be extremely helpful and if you take it seriously and do the exercises they give you, it can be really beneficial!! Hope all goes well for you!

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LAURIE5658 10/15/2010 1:29PM

    You will love PT!! I was just at mine this morning and will be starting another round of PT!! I told PT Candi that she is THE most important person I have in my running circle. If it wasn't for her I would be like a human pretzel.

So far so good with your ankle and always, keep us updated with it.

ps...DIS smileys are THE best and I wish we had them here! I like the one with the dropping jaw...heeelarious!

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FUNFROG79 10/15/2010 1:19PM

    I loved PT too! Good luck, hope you feel better soon! emoticon

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RIVERDLC 10/15/2010 12:47PM

    I love Pt. Good luck!!!

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EHERATH 10/15/2010 12:44PM

    I loved physical therapy--of course, I had it for growing pains, but I still loved it! Hope that your ankle situation gets better!

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Listening to my better angels

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So, I've got an appointment with my doctor tomorrow morning. Yesterday, I had glimpses of blue skies in my own personal storm. I felt pretty good. I could walk without a noticeable limp. I didn't feel like I needed to wear my neoprene brace for most of the day and could get around pretty well without it. There wasn't a lot of pain. It seemed like things were getting better.

Even this morning, at home, I felt okay. I was able to get downstairs without much trouble. Pain wasn't the first thing I was aware of when I woke up. Walking in from the parking lot (which is a quarter mile) was a nightmare. I didn't put on my brace, which I would normally have done. I was still able to walk in and concentrate on walking as normally as possible. That means much slower and a shorter stride than normal, but without lurching or limping, because that kind of thing doesn't just make my ankle worse, it messes up my knees.

The reason I decided to call the doctor to set up an appointment is that, while it feels less painful overall, the pain is different and things have changed. The pain is now intermittent sharp twinges that don't necessarily have anything to do with activity. I can be sitting here with absolutely no noticeable pain in my ankle for 30-40 minutes, and suddenly it's *twitch* *pop* "AAARGH!" And the popping is not a literal pop while I'm sitting, but it is when I'm walking. The one thing I was afraid of is the one thing I was waiting for is the one thing that's finally started happening. I can feel- and slightly hear- a snapping in my ankle when I walk. Not all the time, but often enough to worry me. I think it may have started yesterday afternoon, but my knees pop almost all the time and it was hard to tell where the snapping was coming from. I can put up with it in my knees because that's old news and it barely registers now. But this ankle thing needs to be nipped in the bud.

I'm still hopeful that it's "just" tendinitis and will end with a doctor saying "Turn your RICE into PRICE, because all we need is a little patience" (apparently my imaginary doctor is a big fan of Guns n' Roses emoticon) But I'm steeling myself for bad news.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FOXXYROXXYD 10/14/2010 4:00PM

    I am so sorry that the pain is different/worse - UGH! I'm glad you are going to have it checked out and I am sending you positive thoughts and energy that it isn't anything that "PRICE" won't cure. Hang in there and let us know what is going on as soon as you can.
emoticon emoticon

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FUNFROG79 10/14/2010 3:04PM

    Stay strong and positive! emoticon

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LAURIE5658 10/14/2010 2:29PM

    I am so happy you are listening to your gut and going to get this checked out. Hopefully it is just PRICE and please PLEASE keep us posted as to what is going on! {{{Hugs}}} and {{{positive vibes}}}, my friend!!!


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IFDEEVARUNS2 10/14/2010 2:27PM

    Sending positive vibes your way! emoticon emoticon

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 10/14/2010 2:14PM

    I'm glad to hear that you are getting it checked out.

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Yet another reason to love the gym

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I feel the need to post a non-ankle related blog entry, but there's nothing either good or interesting to say about the nutritional part of my recent actions. Let's just say cookies and pizza have me saying "What in tarnation, Tootsie Pop?" a bit more than I'd like lately. The pizza is the side effect of friends coming over for a little couch commiseration on Sunday and the cookies were labeled "Breast cancer cookies" and had pink M&Ms in them. "Good intentions" are no excuse for poor dietary choices, ya doof!

So as a topic, that leaves me with my new shoes (black Clarks slip-ons bought at TJ Maxx for $40, which is really all there is to say about them) and exercise. Pilates has gone well for the last couple of weeks. I decided that I'll be able to keep up with the class just fine and there's no need to switch to the beginner's class. I may be a beginner at Pilates, but I'm not a beginner at crunches, leg lifts and stretching. The biggest problem for me is doing everything barefoot. My feet cramp a bit, but less the second week than the first.

The gym is pretty darned enjoyable for me and that's what I'd really like to write about. Besides the obvious reasons for enjoying the gym (endorphins, a feeling of accomplishment), I also enjoy people-watching at the gym. One of the benefits of regular workouts is that I see the same people pretty often. And just because I am super-shallow sometimes, I will tell you that one of the people I see most often is a very good-looking, tall young man with an amazing aptitude for push-ups. On Monday he was doing push-ups about two feet from where I was doing crunches and it was a bit hard to keep my mind on form. Or, my form, at least. emoticon And before anyone gets any ideas, I may be single and gaining confidence in my own attractiveness every day, but this guy appears to be a bit out of my age bracket and that limits my interest to strictly observational. He sure is pretty, though...

So there are my slightly embarrassing, totally silly thoughts for the day. I hope that the Gym Fairy brings you a bit of eye candy to make your workouts more fun, too! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITERARY_CHICK 10/14/2010 1:03PM

    Eye candy is always good encouragement. Look to your heart's content just don't loose total focus on why you are crunching.

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POOHLA711 10/14/2010 8:44AM

    This post made me smile.
I definitely people watch at my gym. What I like the most is to see people making progress. There is one couple that joined my gym pretty shortly after I did about 2 years ago and they were both probably over 400lbs. I have watched the two of them each lose a significant amount of weight and it just makes me proud that they are doing so well, even though I've never spoken to them.
Unfortunately, the majority of the men who work out at my gym are either high school kids or senior citizens, but my hubby works out there, so I have all the eye candy I need. emoticon

As for the breast cancer cookies... You know, a lot of healthier foods are promoting breast cancer awareness this month, too... Maybe choose Activia Yogurt next time instead of the pink m&m cookies. emoticon

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FOXXYROXXYD 10/13/2010 5:24PM

    Eye Candy always makes things more enjoyable. One of the trails I hike is also used for training the UNC cross country team... need I say more?
emoticon score on the shoes!

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FUNFROG79 10/13/2010 4:48PM

    I'm thinking of joining the gym myself. Thanks for the inspiring blog! emoticon

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ROZELL99 10/13/2010 4:42PM

  Life is good.

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I'm pretty sure this is positive progress

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So, I'm kind of hesitant about posting this blog. Yesterday, everyone advised me to go to the doctor because my ankle felt worse in the morning. I want to thank everyone for their concern. It really is appreciated. Admittedly, I've always been someone who's put off going to the doctor, so my bias is probably going to show here, but I'm not ready to make an appointment yet. Although it hurts in the morning, it feels substantially better later in the day, so I think the situation is improving more than I thought it was yesterday.

I did figure out a couple of things yesterday. The first is that sitting without moving my leg at all for over an hour during my drive to work yesterday allowed it to stiffen up. On the drive home and the drive in this morning, I flexed my ankle gently for the whole drive and it was a lot more comfortable and flexible when I got out of the car. Second, I really need to replace the shoes I've been wearing because the heels are totally worn down. The wear pattern on the heels is causing my naturally funky walk to become even more exaggerated. You know how running on a cambered surface can cause joint issues? When I wear these shoes, I take the camber with me.

And really, who doesn't want an excuse to buy new shoes? emoticon

So the other reason I'm hesitant to post this blog is that I have to fess up to working out last night. I was going stir crazy from the lack of activity and needed to work out. I planned to do my usual 4x10 minute sessions on the elliptical with strength sets interspersed, but was prepared to switch to the stationary bike if there was any problem with my ankle. Not only was there no problem with my ankle on the elliptical, there wasn't even any noticeable slowdown between what I was able to do before and what I did last night. My strength training wasn't really affected, either- even the stuff I do for my legs. I can't say that was 100% fine, though, because my standing alternating dumbbell curls did put more pressure than I'd like on my ankle. Apparently, my body is not keen on the extra 40 pounds! Which makes me even more grateful for the 40 pounds I've lost since last year. When extra weight bothers me now, I can just put it back on the rack. And perhaps, just to be safe, I should sit on the weight bench to do my curls for a while.

I'm obviously a long way from being ready to get back to running, but I am getting better. I'm also keeping a watchful eye out for any new developments. If there's any change other than"getting better," I promise I will call my doctor. And my post-shoe shopping activity tonight is TV, ice, and elevation. I'm not pressing my luck. Much.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENELOPE 10/13/2010 3:58PM

    @Catherine, it's a little of Column A and a little of Column B. Yes, I always fear getting bad news from the doctor, so that's part of why I put off going. I think that's true of a lot of people. However, the bigger part is that I honestly do feel much better and I want to give that a chance before calling for reinforcements. I've been doing RICE for a little less than a week and at this point, it's getting better instead of staying the same or getting worse. For instance, I was able to walk about a quarter mile this afternoon without an ankle brace without a significant amount of difficulty or pain. On the other hand, I'm also being alert for new developments. I decided yesterday that I'm giving myself through this weekend and if there isn't at least 90% improvement, I'm calling the doctor. If things change or degrade, I'm calling earlier.

I hope that reassures everyone that I'm still listening to Sensible Sally and not the Gung-ho Psycho! emoticon And I'm honestly not ignoring the excellent advice given by my very wise Spark Friends.

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LITERARY_CHICK 10/13/2010 11:14AM

    Listen to your body. It sounds like your body said to move so since it didn't make you uncomfortable, I think you made the right decision.

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FUNFROG79 10/12/2010 7:36PM

    I'm not a fan of the doc either, but I put off treating my knee and next thing I know I'm off to surgery and can't run for almost a year and packed on additional 15 lbs. You know your body, so it's your choice and you will know when to go. Hang in there! We are all rooting for you! emoticon

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 10/12/2010 6:28PM

    Are you avoiding the doctor because, despite what you say in the blog, you fear what he will tell you? If you are correct about your ankle and there is nothing seriously wrong, he will confirm it. On the other hand, if you are not correct, he can help you avoid a permanent injury. Yes, you'll be ought some money. But not as much as you will be if it turns into something serious. But you know this.

Comment edited on: 10/12/2010 6:35:41 PM

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FOXXYROXXYD 10/12/2010 3:13PM

    EVAMATHENA is correct, only you know your body. And while you ARE smart, I think you are also a lot like me when it comes to injuries and going to the doctor... STUBBORN!
Earlier this year, two days after finishing my first 5K, I sprained my ankle pretty badly during a cool down walk. I DID NOT go to the doctor and I DID NOT stay off of it like I should have. Result - it still bothers me and I have rolled my ankle more in the past 6 months or so than I have in my entire life (and that is saying something because I have had a ton of sprained ankles:). So.... do what you feel like you can do without causing more damage BUT if it doesn't get better see a doctor just to be sure. Keep in mind, this is all said in love my friend!
The neoprene brace is awesome - wear it when you work out if you aren't already!

Stepping off the soapbox now


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SIMPLY-EVA 10/12/2010 2:31PM

  Your a smart girl, really, only you know your body. I am not a big fan of the Dr either but I dont put it off until I am ready to go the emergency room by my DH so thats a good thing. Anyway, I hope you feel better each day.

Take care,


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