Once More Unto PT, Dear Friends…

Ah, physical therapy… we meet again.

Nearly accurate representation of me Tuesday night. (Nearly because I'm not ginger!)

Nearly accurate representation of me Tuesday night. (Nearly because I’m not ginger) (source)

Tuesday was my first PT appointment to fix my Runner’s Knee (you can read my “Ballad of Runner’s Knee” in my last post). It was a 45-minute evaluation – the PT asking questions, prodding different places on my knee and asking what hurt and how bad, testing the strength and flexibility of my various leg muscles – then I got assigned a few exercises to do and was on my way. Though it was pretty no-frills, I’m excited that this might be my best PT experience yet.

I’ve gone to physical therapy 3 other times in the past:

1) In 2009, I went to my first ever PT for an ankle sprain. I had gone to see the ortho about a badly bruised knee (a recurring soccer injury… apparently I like to smash my knees into other people when I play, like, all the time) and he spotted the ankle brace I was rocking and started asking questions. He was horrified that I had sprained my ankles multiple times but had never gone to PT before, and referred me right away. The PT I chose was literally around the corner from my apartment, which was very nice, and consisted of visiting a woman who would massage my ridiculously tight calves so hard that I’d cry and then yell at my toes (literally at my toes, not at me) for moving too much. I went to most of my prescribed visits, then just kind of stopped going once she started trying to make me completely change how I walk. That seemed like too much, plus the calf massages really freaking hurt!

Ouch. (source)

Ouch. (source)

2) In the summer of 2013 I injured my neck/shoulders/upper back (bad posture is bad, mmkay?) and was going to both a chiropractor and PT for a while. I picked a PT office that was close to work, and they were amazing. Each session started with a nice massage to loosen up my wicked tight upper-body muscles, then I did exercises to train my shoulders to un-slouch. It wasn’t too painful, the staff were all really nice and knowledgeable, and I felt like they really helped me. It rocked.

3) May of last year was the last time I was in PT. This was to fix my ankle after I tore a tendon, and the ortho I saw reeeeally wanted me to go to a different PT than the one I had seen the previous year, even though they had been awesome. This other PT specialized in sports injuries (in fact, the head therapist there – the only one, I think… he was the only one I ever saw there – had treated a bunch of professional soccer players) and the ortho thought it would be the right fit. It ended up being kind of weird. The one PT ran around between the 3 treatment tables that were crammed into his tiny office, as well as to the chairs out in the lobby where we practiced our exercises, and did a lot of ultrasounds and Graston scraping, which was crazy painful. When I showed up for my second appointment, the guy kind of yelled at me for being there when I was pain-free (even though I hadn’t finished the treatment plan) and essentially told me not to come back. So, yeah, that was weird.

Graston... more ouch (source)

Graston… more ouch (source)

This time around the new ortho I saw gave me two options – a different PT close to work, or one down the street from my house. Though it’s kind of nice to have an excuse to bunk off work for an hour, things have been so busy lately that I really can’t justify leaving for PT, so the one closer to home made more sense. And, as it turns out, they’re the same PT group that was running the massage tent where I had my knee looked at after Kick in for Kids, and my Shammies friend K is currently going there and really likes them, so it seemed like a good call.

And so far it seems pretty good. My therapist seemed really knowledgeable, and the exercises she gave me to do are basically strength training exercises, which is something I should be doing anyway. Two birds, one stupid, injured stone. Or something like that. Plus, she seemed relatively confident that I’d be back running in time for my half at the end of June, so that’s good… even though it probably means that training properly is out the door. Hmph. So much for that!

Have you gone to physical therapy? What did you think of your experience?

Ever experienced Graston scraping?
Ouch!

Honest opinions – is my half on June 21 still doable? Or should I be looking to switch to the 5K option for the race? Or should I just DNS (again)?

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12 thoughts on “Once More Unto PT, Dear Friends…

    • It was pretty weird… the whole situation! And guess what my new PT did on Friday afternoon? Well, it technically wasn’t Graston but she said it’s essentially the same thing. I have some nice bruising on my leg now… ouch! And thanks, I hope I heal fast too 🙂

  1. I have been to PT several times. I have found that it makes a huge difference if you trust and like your physio person. The firsts one I want to was a bit of a quack, and did nothing for me. I disliked her so much I sought out someone else before my sessions were finished. He was astounded that she had me doing exercises i was not ready for and were actually injuring me more! I have been with my guy for years and highly recommend him. He work miracles!
    Tough call on the race. With a little over a month away I would probably move down to the 5k, something more manageable without having a DNS. Then when 100% sign up for another half.
    Good luck! Hope your physio continues to go well!

    • Yikes, you never know, do you? A friend of mine went to a doc for an elbow injury and the doc told him to do these exercises to help it. When it didn’t get any better he went to another and turns out it was broken the whole time and the exercises were making it worse! Not cool. Sorry that happened to you with your first physio!
      I’ve contacted the race organizers to try to drop to the 5K, fingers crossed I can do that!
      Thanks! 🙂

  2. I’ve never done PT before, but I’m glad you’re feeling good about this one. Considering the lack of training you’ve had lately (boo), it may be smarter to drop down to the 5k. That way you still get to race, but you won’t risk as much potential damage to your newly healed knee. But then again, I totally get not wanting to miss the half either… Sorry, I’m no help!

  3. I went through PT once so far. Everyone was nice but it was crazy busy and I was often left to doing my own thing or waiting. But they were overall helpful and I haven’t had any problems since being discharged so I guess it worked!
    I don’t think I would continue with the half option at this point. You don’t want to risk injuring yourself even worst. That said, I do think a 5k is still do-able! Hope your knee starts healing up with the new PT!

    • Thanks! I’m hoping I can switch to the 5k option… I think I’ve made up my mind that 5k is less scary at this point than a half 🙂

  4. No thank you to Graston. Everything I have heard makes me cringe. I had to see a PT about 2 years ago for my neck and back. My shoulders and elbows were going numb. Turns out my back/ neck were too straight. Who knew that was a thing? Hopefully this new PT works out for you and gets your running pain free soon. I would probably run the half marathon but then I don’t always make the best decisions. You gotta do what will be best for you.

    • Ugh, Graston and things like it are terrible. My new PT did a variation of it to my IT band area on Friday and it was pure torture. I didn’t know a back/neck could be *too* straight! If we combined your straightness with my slouchiness I think we’d be in business 🙂

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