I saw the Ortho on Monday, who at first seemed almost disappointed that my leg had gotten so much better in such a short time – no surgery and fun for him here. The doc wasn’t all that upset about when I stopped wearing the aircast – he just muttered “I didn’t think you would wear it until today.” It was nice to not hear any grief from him about that.
He “ordered” 4 weeks of physical therapy 2 x week and a brace to wear, which I can’t get locally, so I am not worried about it. We talked for a couple of minutes with the requisite warnings about:
- Don’t do too much too quickly.
- Do less than you think you can, at first.
- Don’t do anything to make the injury worse.
- Do what the Physical Therapist tells you to do.
- Come back in three weeks without any new problems.
These are the usual warnings that I hear from all the good doctors I have had say about how I need to return from my injuries – nothing new here.
Then he started to ask me about my how fast I ran a 5K before being injured, because a friend of his was doing one this weekend. When told him, he said, “Wow you are a lot faster than he is, that probably also means that you are pretty competitive in your age group.”
I told him I did all right locally and after he asked, told where I have placed in races this year.
His comment back, was “so you are a competitive runner”.
I told him “Yeah, you could say that.” with a chuckle – now you guys know that I am not all that competitive (sarcasm).
At which point he said “Competitive runners like you scare me as a doctor, you guys push yourself way too hard and sooner or later, you end up seeing me with a lot worse injuries, than the original one, I have a feeling you might be in this group”. Along with a few more comments along this line, which I stopped listening too.
Although looking back with 20/20 hindsight that he might be right – at that moment I mumbled back – “I don’t plan on seeing you again, except for our appointment in 3 weeks”.
I feel that he either purposely or inadvertently challenged me – either way, the doc seems to think that I will come back too soon and push too much, then really have some problems. I plan to show him that he is wrong.
However, to his credit he never said I should not go back to running like my last Ortho strongly recommended or should I say told me, this one seemed resigned that I wouldn’t listen to advice or orders like that any way. Which I would not have.
Going to be Conservative
I had planned to come back from this injury a lot more carefully than I have in the past and the doc’s challenge, just makes me want to prove him wrong – you know that competitiveness that I have about be challenged and proving people wrong. I would love to be able to go back in 3 weeks and offer to go for a run with the doc and see what kind of shape we are both in.
As part of this plan to be smarter about my recovery, I have bought and read The Running Injury Recovery Program and workbook by Bruce R. Wilk, I listened the most recent Runner Academy podcast where Mr. Wilk talked about his book and philosophies which helped me understand better some of the stuff in the books.
While I might not agree with everything that he writes and says, he does this recovery from injury stuff for a living and for the most part, it really seems to go well with many of the philosophies that I am developing towards my running. Including some of my evolving opinions and observations about minimalist running shoes and whether they work for me or not.
I plan to use parts of Wilk’s program in addition or should I say in conjunction with my physical therapy sessions.
Speaking of Physical Therapy, I was lucky!!!!
I went back to my old physical therapist, who is also a runner, on Monday (right after the doctor appointment) and they had a cancellation for 1:00 PM, so I got in right away and then I had the second visit yesterday. I think having those two session that close together was the kick start that my body needed and was really helpful, while I am sore today, my legs also feel better.
During the initial examination, which I felt was much more complete than the doctor’s. I found out that both of legs from the knees down, are about as flexible as 2×4’s on a good day. That my right foot does not come close to zero on the bend it up test, my Tailor’s Bunionette was pretty minor.
However, there is a ligament on the bottom of my right foot that is inflamed, which is probably more of an issue than the T/B and is most likely causing the majority of my gait change on that side.
My left foot barely makes it to zero and that there is lots and lots of scar tissue in both legs. In addition, my hips are slightly out of alignment and my calves are so tight, that for her to even make a dent in them, she had to use her elbows, pushing in with the other arm and body weight. Yes there was pain involved while she was doing that.
The good news is that I have above average strength in both feet/calves and surprisingly my hamstrings are not as tight as my lower legs, because I had decent flexibility on the leg lift, going a little past vertical.
So to put in the technical terms that the PT used, while she was laughing at me (remember she has beat on me before) – “Harold your legs are a mess and even worse than the last time I saw you!”
I have a feeling that she was thinking of using a different word in front of mess, but was attempting to be somewhat professional, so I said it for her and she just laughed and said yep.
During the treatment part of the visits, I know that they definitely found some major scar tissue in my left leg (which hurt like hell for them to find, but definitely feels better now), trying to unkink my calves with elbow magic and all the other torture devices that they are using to get me back to better than I was before.
I think that for my next appointment on Monday, I am going to bring a stick or a chunk of leather to bite down on, so that I don’t scream quite so much, loud grunting is okay! ;-).
The reality is that
I have no restrictions and can do as much as my tolerance for discomfort allows, which means I can do most everything that I want. However, I am still a little sore after physical therapy visits and this amount of soreness is letting me know that I need to still be careful.
That being said, both the doc and PT have said I can start running when I want to, as long as I go slowly. So today, I am going to run/walk a mile and start using The Running Injury Recovery Program as part of my recovery.
Wish me luck or is that smart training.
- How do you usually plan your return to running after an injury?
- Do you just start running again and not worry about the how part?