Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Becky goes to physical therapy, gets a reality check

Friends, your esteemed author has not been herself ever since she tragically fell down one step in her darkened apartment one night late last year and destroyed the tendons and ligaments of her left ankle, along with her dignity. (Kidding on that last part, of course. We all know I have no dignity.)

After months of babying my foot and never running more than 10 miles in a week, I amped up my mileage a couple of months ago with the hopes of running a half marathon at the end of May. Very quickly, however, I ran into problems.

I've run one race since my injury; it went better than my face suggests.
See, I was supposed to go to physical therapy back in early December. But I didn't. I thought that (even though I was in a fucking boot for two weeks) physical therapy was overkill, and I thought that I was strong enough and wise enough to ease back into my running routine without a licensed professional guiding me through it. But that routine never returned like I felt it should, and one Monday about a month ago, I had to turn around during the Salty Dogs run and go home early because the 5-mile run I'd done two days previously had left my ankle too sore to run on.

It took a few weeks (and one apologetic phone call to the doctor's office for being such a shitty patient) to get in for my physical therapy assessment, but today, I finally had my appointment. I was nervous going into it, because maybe this was it for me. Maybe by not doing what the doctor told me, I had ruined myself and would never again be able run like I once had. He had, at one point, said the words "we don't want permanent damage," and they had stuck with me, crawling inside my psyche and feeding and growing until there I was, at the physical therapy office, anxiety-ridden while a woman I'd never met wrapped a tape measure around both of my feet in turn.

She was nice about it. She asked me a bunch of questions, had me do some things while standing and sitting, and then, in the absolute most understated way imaginable, told me that what? After injuring myself and then jumping back into it without bothering to ice or take anti-inflammatories after running, I occasionally had pain that lasted a day or two after five miles or more in one go? No shit, Sherlock.

She sent me home with a bunch of strengthening exercises and the request that I call again in a couple of weeks if I felt that I wasn't making progress on my own.

You know, it was like the root canal. I hadn't been there before, so I didn't know. But now I do.

So if you don't have the fetish I do for learning everything the hard way, please learn from my mistake: If the doctor tells you you're injured enough to need physical therapy, you probably do.

That is all.


  1. I never ever refuse physical therapy. I think it's the greatest, the greatest help, and PTs are wonderful people. Go for it! But don't over do it x

  2. Kindred spirits you and I. I am a hypochondriac who adores doctors until I really need one and then it is all "She'll be alright" Which is what got me to the knee destruction of 2014 and reconstruction of 2015.

    1. I remember the reconstruction vividly... :-/ This is another example of me not taking the exact advice that I would give others, because clearly if someone told me that the doctor had given them orders, I would have chastised them for not following them. But then what do I do? Yeah... But at least I didn't ruin myself!