Physical Therapy Breakthrough

I don’t want to jinx it and I’ve said it probably two or three times since starting therapy in July, but I think I might be done sometime in the next month.  Not because all of a sudden nothing hurts — I’m still sore in my ankle — but I think we’ve got it figured it out.  I haven’t felt like we’re almost done since the Fall, but I really feel like the end is near.

Mentally, I feel like I’m in the best place I could be or have been in recent months.  I don’t hope I’m going to get better, I know I’m going to get better.  The mental aspect of anything is half the battle right?

I went to therapy on Monday and Chris asked how I was.  He frowned when he heard I was still sore, but was happy that I got some miles in and felt better than I have previously.  He said the last thing we really needed to nail was the plyometric drills we’ve worked on once before which are supposed to be integrated into speed days, just before the workout.  Last time I did them, I wasn’t very good at it.

I warmed up, but my ankle was pretty sore during my movement prep.  We did a hip flexor test to see how tight I was and of course, it wasn’t very pretty.  This led us to the kneeling progression, which I have not done since probably the second or third week of physical therapy (read: August).  It’s not because I forgot about it, but because we advanced through so many workouts, I stopped doing that specific stretch.  Here was the first “Aha!” moment of the night.  Start doing these again.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (Source)

The kneeling progression isn’t much of a progression as it is a static stretch.  Rather than write a lengthy description, look at the picture to the left.  This is exactly what you want, except you can relax the back foot.  Then flex the glute of the back leg and you’ll feel the stretch in the hip flexors of the kneeling leg.  I’m supposed to hold about 45 to 60 seconds on each side, about three times.  Your ass will hurt.

Also while you’re checking out that picture, you should check out the link to the source.  It’s a great lunge resource I linked to, but the rest of the blog is kept current and has some really good reading material for strength training (and we all know us runners don’t do this enough!) among other things.  I’m definitely adding it to my reading list.

lying quad stretch
(Source)

Then we moved to the laying down quad stretch, which is pretty common.  I rarely stretch my quads but when I do, I’m standing.  Apparently that doesn’t do much for us and as far as runners, we should be doing everything in a runner form.  The picture to the right is basically it, except the bottom leg comes up and the knee bends to form a 90 degree ankle so your legs look like you’re running on the floor.

After that, I was waiting for Chris to demonstrate the first set of plyometric drills.  I got yelled at.

To be honest, I didn’t even know what I was doing, that’s how mindless this has become to me.  When I’m standing, I tend to roll my feet out so I’m standing on the outsides of my feet.  I’m like an antsy little kid.  There’s no reason for it, it’s just a bad habit.  It puts stress on the exact part of my ankle that hurts, too.  Now that he’s pointed it out and I’m constantly thinking about it, I’ve realized how often I do it.  It also doesn’t help that I’d move my foot that way frequently to see if the soreness has gotten better or worse.  Who doesn’t check their injury status all the damn time by making it hurt anyways?  I’m clearly prolonging my healing.

So between those two stretches and not standing on the outsides of my ankles (or trying to over correct my knees centered over my toes), I should be heading in the right direction.  Chris was pretty excited each time he figured something else out, which is awesome because the past two appointments he’s apologized for “failing me”, which I totally don’t think he has; I’ve learned so much.  But by him being so excited about these new-ish revelations, I’m getting the gist that he’s pretty sure they will fix the issues.

After nearly 11 miles last week, even with a few of them being a walking portion, it’s my highest mileage since before the ankle issues and it’s still the best I’ve felt.  If that isn’t a good sign, I don’t know what is.

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Brittany

Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

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