Thursday, April 16, 2009

My First Physical Therapy Session

Today was my first session with the physical therapist. I've never been to a PT before so the only thing I knew about them was based on TV shows and movies.

So, here's what I imagined:
  • Someone who looks a lot like The Incredible Hulk (minus the green, of course).
  • A loud, bossy, Drill-Sargentesque guy in scrubs.
  • Me, sweating and crying in pain as I strive to pull myself across the parallel bars... all the while, the PT yells at me to be strong... to stop being such a wuss or I will never, ever run again!!
  • After I find the strength within myself to reach the end of the bars, my tormentor applauds and tells me I have what it takes... I will run again (start the sappy music).
I admit it... I've watched a few too many made-for-TV movies in my life.

Here's what I got:
  • An athletic-looking, lean-muscled young man (dang, I'm getting old!). Turns out he is a runner.
  • A soft-spoken, kind individual who listened to me and didn't immediately toss out my idea that I might have a stress fracture of the femur.
  • Me, getting to relax while he stretched my legs for me... I didn't even have to put forth the effort to stretch, he did all the work! Sweet!
  • Hearing that he didn't think it is a stress fracture... but the ligaments in my right knee are loose.
  • But... here is where the sappy music starts... I will run again.
Just not for a while.

Apparently, having loose knee ligaments is not the greatest attribute to have as a runner. If I understood correctly, it is good to have ligaments that are tight enough to support your knee. If that is not the case, the quad muscles and the muscles connecting the two parts of your leg together get over-worked and prone to strain.

In other words, the muscles in my quads, core, and hips need to be stronger in order to pick up the slack of my loosey-goosey knee.

Until the pain is gone, I need to stay away from activities that will aggravate my leg. That means my 18-mile long run/walk on Saturday is out. I've been given some simple, non-aggravating exercises to do in order to start the process of strengthening my quads and hips.

I'm still hopeful I will be able to walk the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. Since there are a few half marathons I want to do in the fall and winter, however, I will skip the Rock 'n' Roll if it means being strong enough to run the half marathons I want to do.

Meanwhile, I need to be more motivated to keep up my strength training and stationary bicycle. I miss running, though. I can't wait to get out there and run!

This is the Hulk of my youth. That's how old I am.


Denise said...

I feel so bad, I haven't visited your blog in so long. I hate how crazy things have been. Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. I'll be lurking around now!! :-)

Ps...your blog is so pretty!! I don't know how you guys figure out all these neat things to do.

joyRuN said...

Your imagined physical therapy session is HILARIOUS!!

Good luck with the exercises.

ptanes said...

OK- now I feel bad about complaining about taking that one day off-- I hope you heal fast!! I think it's smart not to push it even though you may want to.

What specifically are you doing to keep the "run" alive inside?? Are the exercises helping?

Mel (TMOTR) said...

I love your perception vs. reality. Get better buddy!!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I think I've mentioned it before, but I went through a similar issue last year. Started having knee issues in August. Stupdily ran on it for a few months. Had a DNF because of it. Finally saw an orthopedic and PT. Became the "gym queen" - seriously, after a while the strength stuff becomes jsut as much fun as running. And FINALLY got back to running. With stronger hips/core/quads and more flexibility. Take the time to work it out now and when you get back to running, it will be a much better experience. *hugs*

MCM Mama said...

Glad you know what the problem is and how to start fixing it. Hope the pain goes away quickly!

Glenn Jones said...

Sara - that is *great* news. Believe me - building muscle strength to compensate for loose ligaments beats the heck out of the other issues! Not to mention that you can breathe a little easier.

I had a simiar problems earlier this year. Long term resolution was to run further but slower. These days I'm back up to 35 miles a week! You can do it - just be patient!

Melanie said...

love the new look! good luck with those exercises! Good that it doesn't look like a stress fracture, but i know it sucks to not be able to run. Sending speedy healing vibes that you'll be back hitting the pavement soon :) have a great weekend!

tfh said...

I'm glad it went well! And I can't imagine that loose ligaments are worse than a stress fracture-- I felt relief that it wasn't that! Hope the exercises start helping right away. :)

RunToFinish said...

yes my PT keeps telling me that women have weak pelvis muscles and since all those muscles are connected to your IT band and etc leg muscles will then you are imbalanced...duh I know I'm imbalanced, but I think he means my muscles.

the PT does work though!!

Christie said...

I'm sending good healing vibes your way.

Marathonman101108 said...

Yup, I certainly remember the original "The Incredible Hulk!" Hey, looks like you got the lessor of the 2 evils as they say with your injury. Between PT and your exercises, you'll be running again before you know it. By the way, your new pic is great...forgive me for saying this, but you're a "babe!" :-)