Friday, May 9, 2014

Physical Therapy - Week 1

Technically, it's Week 1.5. I was only able to go once last week because HRH was sick, but I made it, and as of today, I've been three times.
So, let's recap a bit first, shall we?
When I was finally able to make it in to the ortho, he took a look at my X-rays and said that I have extra bone at the top of my femur - femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). So the bone kind of smooshes (technical word) the cartilage in the joint, which causes the pain.
Bad news dispensed with, he proceeded to explain that while surgery is sometimes necessary, he was hopeful that some physical therapy can alleviate the pain.
I was extremely relieved to hear a positive mindset and that the doctor didn't want to immediately go worst case scenario to get me on a surgery table. And if PT doesn't relieve me, there are also shots that can work to reduce inflammation and improve my mobility.
Of course, shots are The Worst (just ask HRH), so I'd prefer to make enough progress in PT.

Fast forward to my insurance-sanctioned torture sessions.
Ideally, I'd go three times a week, but our family schedule just doesn't allow for that, so I've compromised on two times a week. The ortho had suggested a check back in six weeks, but I'll extend that a little bit if I need to because of the reduced schedule.
My physical therapist, Stephanie, determined that I have a bit of a hip drop and that I have gluteal amnesia, a not uncommon condition among runners in which the gluteus "forget" to fire, and other, smaller muscles have to compensate in order for the body to move forward.
The exercises she's having me do, then, are designed to help awaken the glute's memory and strengthen those muscles. Additionally, I'm doing some core strengthening exercises because it's always good to do core strengthening. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I've kind of let those exercises slide.
Each day, Stephanie's added at least one more exercise that works either the core or the glute/hip area, and I've been charged with stretching every day, as Stephanie said that yes, I am not a "bendy" person, but my upper leg muscles are OMGSOTIGHTHOWDOYOUEVENWALKBRO.
Many of my exercises are the same as what I've done before in my pilates videos, although they aren't as advanced because I've done a crappy job keeping up my leg strength. And doing these exercises, which in one way seem like baby steps, has been both fascinating and humbling.
I mean, it only takes ten clams for me to beg for mercy, and I have to do thirty of them.
It should come as no surprise that I am constantly going to my happy place, which may or may not involve images of ice cream.
Even though I'm in PT twice a week, Stephanie wants me doing these exercises every day. Additionally, she's allowing me to walk, but I am not allowed to run or bike until she gives me the green light. I may even hike, if I am so inclined, but only on "light" trails.
Between the stretching and the exercises, then, I'm making a lot of use of my ice packs, which tends to be the highlight of my day.
I am going a bit stir crazy not being able to run or bike, but I'm behaving so that I can get back to both before long. The good news is that these exercises are absolutely exhausting, even if I'm only able to move my leg 1/2 inch sometimes (which is what it feels like sometimes), so I'm not sure I'd have the energy to get in two miles even if I had been given the OK.
My hope is that weekly recaps will allow me to see my own progress in terms of strength, as well as to keep me accountable for actually doing the work when I'm not under Stephanie's watchful eye. Tune in next week - I may be able to do TWELVE clams before offering to give up government secrets!


  1. It has always been my "rule" to do whatever my chiro tells me - when she says "no running", I don't run. But the beautiful thing is, when I follow her orders, I bounce back a lot faster than if I didn't. So..keep following the rules and you'll be out there sweating with the rest of us in no time!

    1. I'm already feeling stronger, so I'm starting to feel better about where I am. Now let's see how long I can go without begging her to let me run again! :)