Physical Therapy – 2 Weeks In…

Stepping out with weights...
Stepping out with weights…

Ever since the ankle sprain heard around the world (okay…not really, but…it seems like this just isn’t going away), I have gone to the doctor, been X-rayed, and now am going twice a week to physical therapy, where I am working with two very good therapists, Jill and Shawn.

The good news is…no fractures. No stress fractures. NOTHING…I repeat…NOTHING…is broken.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is…I seriously sprained my ankle.  Yep.  Seriously.  And not the typical inversion ankle sprain either (that would be on the outside of the ankle).  Nope.  I’m a special case.  I do the more uncommon and rather quite rare, rolling the ankle outward and doing the damage to the inside of my ankle.  Because, why do things the way 80% of the population does, right?  I will not conform.  *sigh*

So, last week I went to my first physical therapy session.  And was immediately discouraged.  There were measurements taken of both my feet an ankles, and I was given a couple of exercises to do, and given some of the bands to really work my ankle some more.  I left not really sure how I felt, but had another appointment set up to meet with Shawn, who would go over some other things I could do and work with me a bit further.  Needless to say, I had my doubts, but that Friday evening when I went into my session, Shawn really did make me feel better and did move things along.

I have about 30 minutes of stretching that I am doing, twice a day, every day.  Then, I am doing 3 sets of 20 reps of each ankle flexing exercise with the various bands (they each provide a different bit of resistance and strength) twice a day.  That’s a lot.  But…I do it.  Despite not always feeling like doing it.  I still do it.  Why?  Because I am seeing improvement.

That being said, today was going to be a very important session.  I went into my session and did my warm-up on the bike.  Then, Shawn got me strapped into a weight machine and had me do some forward, backwards, and side stepping, while hooked up to some weights.  Resistance to make it a little tougher and to test that ankle.  Then he had me doing some ankle exercises while hooked up to some weights around each ankle, to work on some balance and strength.  I managed these, no problem at all.  The hard part was talking and counting my required 20 reps.  It’s the little things.

The moment of truth came after that.  Shawn took me over to the treadmill, which he told me he was going to do today, to have me walk…then up the pace…then up it to a very light, very easy, very gentle run.  He put it on 5.0 mph and I sort of just jogged…for three minutes.  And I did okay.  The ankle twinged (nothing painful, it just didn’t feel right…) a couple of times, but it was progress.  Good progress.  I felt good about it.  I was hoping…praying…that I’d get the okay to start running again.

And I did.

Kind of.

A deliberate-paced run on the treadmill...
An easy, deliberate-paced run on the treadmill…

I’m still not permitted to run outside.  Not yet.  Nope.  That’s a negative on the one thing I was really, really hoping to get the go-ahead on.  Yeah, I was a bit bummed when he delivered that news to me.  I know, he wants to make sure I’m ready, and I understand that, but, God, I miss being out there.  I really do.  However…I am cleared to easily run and do some intervals of run/walk on the treadmill.  Completely cleared to do that.  And when I go in on Monday, I get to report on how the ankle is feeling after spending a weekend doing that.  This is progress.  It just wasn’t the progress I was hoping to make.  But…baby steps.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and this ankle won’t get back up to speed (pardon the pun) overnight.  It just doesn’t work like that.  At least I’m cleared to do some deliberate running…even if it is at the gym on the treadmill or around the tiniest track in the world (FOR REAL!).

Progress is progress…no matter how small, right?  Right.

That’s what I keep reminding myself.  I am also learning to get used to a little disappointment (like the news delivered today).  But, in the end, it just means I’ll have a lifetime of running…and not do damage to myself that I can’t come back from it.  My physical therapy sessions are definitely helping.  And I hope…come next week…I’ll see a little more progress as well.  Maybe get out in the fresh air.  Maybe.

For now…as much as I hate the treadmill…it sure is better than nothing.  Now to just train my brain to keep it easy and slow and ease back into it.  Running smart means sometimes running with your head and not your heart.


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