Admittedly it was a little chaotic and anti climactic, but I did it! I finally finished Physical Therapy! I had to bring Wicket with me though, after a long day and a longer weekend, sooooooo not quite what I had envisioned.
After our initial 8 weekly visits, my PT got approval from my insurance company to extend it for another 4, and we moved to every other week to get me as far through my training cycle as possible. It’s been really interesting watching the changes in clientele. When I started PT in August it was a lot of older people who were recovering from various surgeries, but in the beginning of October it changed over FAST to a bunch of kids who were getting injured in school sports. Interesting! I was no longer the hot little ticket I was in August.
In the last month I moved to not needing the heat, ultrasound, or massage before my visits, because my tendon has rarely been achey except when the weather is exceptionally gross. My PT said that’s totally real and normal and will probably persist. Once I had the extra time due to not needing those services, I got to learn some really good exercises to add to my repertoire.
She usually had me warmup on the bike for 10 minutes, then I got to do the Bosu. I want one of these things SO BAD. I had to hold on to the ledge in the wall because I am still WAY too unstable not to hold on, but I got to do gentle rocking and squats to improve ankle strength and stability. She usually then had me do weighted lateral stepouts and/or the ladder. I was surprised by how much lateral work she had me do, as I had always steered away from it as a runner.
I usually also got to do dipping calf raises on the total gym, and squats. I LOVE that thing! Once she was confident enough in my ankle I got to use the stability bar and it was CRAZY how much harder it made everything! The calf tightness and strength remains something to be worked on for me, this made that abundantly clear.
I also got to start doing walk outs with the weight machine thing attached to my waist. I have no idea what this thing is called, it has different weight levels you can set. I had to walk out forward and backwards head on, and side to side, to work on stability and momentum so I stop letting my ankle rule everything my body does, or overcompensate for it. I also got to do kick outs, forward, backward, in, and out, while standing on a foam mat. It was SHOCKING the difference in my ankles was. Still, after all the time. I was so surprised by how fatigued my left ankle got.
So I am done going! And paying co pays. But I am NOT done working on strength training in general and my ankle in specific. If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that strength training is an important addition, not an afterthought or a last resort. I have worked a lot of weighted lateral work into my twice a week routines as a result of my work with my PT. Hal Higdon doesn’t like it because he thinks it can cause injury, but I am going to go with my own PT’s advice. My goal is to not have to go back, and the fact that my left ankle can still get so fatigued shows me I need to keep it up. LOTS of core and hip work are included, because as she says, it’s a chain.
I am going to keep her in my head as I run this race! So far on all of my long runs she has been in there reminding me to activate my core and remember my posture. It’s amazing how much of a diffrence THAT makes for my ankle, even though they are so far apart. I am going to bring ALL of my recovery tools to Disney, and I am going to remember her confidence that I CAN DO THIS.
I have to call her, and send pictures, honestly. Otherwise the last memories she will have of me will be Wicket having a total meltdown on the floor of their office, and me hauling him up like a kettlebell and carrying him out over my shoulder as he kicks and screams. Not really as cute as a nice little finisher photo with a medal, is it?