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!
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.
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 ) But I'm steeling myself for bad news.
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. 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!
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?
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.
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