So, last Monday I went to physical therapy, the beginning of my seventh week. From the beginning, I’ve been able to run 4-6 minutes before the knee starts hurting, and it hasn’t gotten any better. I was determined that this would be my last week. If it’s not getting any better, then it can’t get any better. I’m incredibly discouraged, I’m pissed off and sad, and nothing is helping.
So Monday I got on the treadmill. And less than five minutes later I was off. It’s really all I can do not to cry, not to kick the treadmill, not to walk out. The PT can see it, and I know he’s feeling pretty discouraged, too. He looks at me for a full minute, and says, “Lay down.” So I lay down, and he does an ultrasound, to get the circulation going in the knee, and he thumbs through his anatomy book. He gets done with the ultrasound and says, “Take off your shoe.” So I take off my right shoe, and he says, “Lift your toes.” And I do. And he says, “Are you lifting them?” “Yes, can’t you see I am?” And he has me hold them up and resist as he tries to push them down. And I can’t even hold out for a millisecond. So he says, “Take off your other shoe.” And he has me resist with those toes.
And the toes on my left foot are, like, fifty times stronger than those on my right foot. “Did you feel that?” he asks. Um…YEAH.
He grabs the anatomy book and starts showing me how there is a ligament that connects the tibia and the fibula – in this diagram you can see where they join on the outside of the knee. That’s the ligament that hurts (based on a five minute test where he pushed and pulled on my knee and I yelled OW!! every time he hit that spot – feels like a bruise, really). Now there’s only one muscle that goes over both these bones (sorry, not sure which one it is), and as we know, strengthening the muscles around the knee helps hold everything together, thus alleviating pain. If you put your hand on top of your shin and lift your toes, you’ll feel that muscle work.
So he made me start doing toe curls – which really are as funny as they sound. You wrap a band around the top of the toes to hold them down, and then you raise your toes up to work that muscle. So I started doing those on Monday afternoon.
Wednesday I went back in to the PT. And ran for 8 minutes!!! This is two minutes on top of my usual “top time.” I really only stopped because (a) I was afraid to push it, and (b) I haven’t run that long in a while – I was kind of tired!!
Both me and the PT were extremely happy, of course. Friday I went in and ran for 10 minutes.
I’m a happy camper. 🙂