Friday, April 05, 2013

Physical Therapy (a.k.a. Voluntary Torture)

Base image from 123RF Stock Photos, modified by me.

Okay, so the title is a little melodramatic. It hasn't reached torture levels. Yet. I started PT on Tuesday. During my first visit, he measured my range of motion. He was pleased with my (mostly) lack of pain and the amount of strength I still have in my foot and leg. I did mention one thing to him that has been bothering me. I grew up doing gymnastics, so I am very good at pointing my toes; in fact, I still do it largely out of habit. However, I cannot point my right foot at all at the moment. He had me point my left foot for comparison, and he was impressed with just how far I could point it. He thinks right is just stiff, but I'm not so sure. I can't feel any tension on the muscles at all when I try to point it. It's not that I'm pointing it really hard and I just can't point it; it's like my brain is sending signals that are not at all reaching my foot. Absolutely nothing is happening. Very frustrating! He also reviewed some range of motion exercises (towel stretch, point/flex, side to side semicircle, write alphabet) with me that I am to do at home twice a day.

Thursday was a bit more of what I expected from PT. He manually stretched right foot, which actually felt pretty good. When he grabbed ankle and wiggled it a bit, his eyes got really wide. "Have you been a chronic sprainer?" Well, no, not really. I tend to twist it pretty good once a year or so, which makes me limp on it for a few days, but I think I only sprained it once before when I was a kid. According to him, my ankle is *very* loose and wiggly, even considering the injury. I am more flexible than average, but he still was shocked at how loose it was. I repeated my range of motion exercises, then did same exercises with resistance band for strengthening. Next, I had to pick up flat "glass rocks" with my toes and move them from the tray they were in to pie plate sitting next to it. After my 3 minutes were up, he was shocked at how many rocks I had moved. He said I did the best ever for a first timer (makes me think of my friend that we tease about having monkey toes); I moved over half the stones both times (probably 50-ish). He said most people get less than 10 on their first try. Hey, I've always been proud to be an overachiever! LOL Lastly, I put my foot in the center of a (more or less) circular board with small hemisphere on bottom. Without moving my leg (only my ankle, which is harder than you think), I had to rock the board front back while keeping the sides level and equidistant from the floor. Then I switched and rocked it side to side while keeping the front and back level. Finally, I had to fully rotate the board both clockwise and counter clockwise, keeping the edge of the board on the floor at all times.  Ouch! My ankle was sore and cranky after that.

My physical therapist thinks I should be able to come off the crutches or at least move to much more weight bearing by next week when I see the doctor next week, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up. He does think I will probably stay in the boot another 4-6 weeks (ggrrrr). After that, it will probably be another 4-6 weeks before I am "fully functional" again. But here's the bad news: it will likely be 6-9 months (or more) before my ankle will allow me to "forget" that it happened (i.e. it doesn't painfully remind me on a daily or weekly basis). I'm trying to be encouraged that there is an end rather than depressed that it will take until Labor Day or maybe Christmas to feel "over it," but it's getting harder to stay upbeat with that kind of timeline laid out for me.

Remind me again why I insist on doing things so very thoroughly (even hurting myself)?

Currently feeling: trying to stay positive

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