Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More complete physical therapy update

This has been a physically compromised training season. I started with a knee injury and then re-injured my back. Neither affected my cycling or swimming but I haven't done any significant running. Actually, I haven't done any significant running all year. It's been the un-runningist year since I started in 2000 and I miss it immensely. I've improved my swimming, found my cycling is pretty good, but it just doesn't give me the same enjoyment as running.

I'm back visiting the same therapist that worked on my knee this spring. He's big on assigning homework exercises and I've managed to talk him into decreasing those from a few hours daily to only two sessions of about 40 minutes each. When I visit I get electrical stimulation and heat (very nice), ultrasound and then some active release techniques. The last is supposed to break up any adhesions on muscles and tendons. This is done by the therapist manipulating the tissue while the patient moves. It's like a deep tissue massage and not something of which I'm fond.

I have very sensitive skin (and apparently very sensitive tissues below the skin) and any deep tissue work creates something like a bruise. Unfortunately the technique works. I now have little bruises behind my shoulders and on my lower back, but I also have greatly increased range of motion and less pain inside.

Last night after a great swim with Claudia and Phil at the local crowded pool (it's warm again; all the fair-weather swimmers are out) I was sore all over. I went home and after getting my gear ready for tonight's brick workouts I became the ice queen. I sat there for about 15 minutes with two ice packs on my knee (one on the front, one on the back), a bag of frozen corn across my lower back and another ice pack on my left shoulder. Luckily it was still pretty warm out and the cold didn't bother me.

All that helped. My back and neck have improved and I think my knee may be ok. I was given permission to try to run, for very short periods, as long as it doesn't hurt. Hopefully that means I can at least practice transitions, even though I'll still be walking much of the workout.

I only have a couple more visits to PT left and hopefully I'll be completely cured by then. And more hopefully I won't have another injury. I'm cautiously optimistic that my injuries will continue to improve and that this year was only a fluke.

As another update, remember when I freezer burned my knee with an ice pack? It healed up pretty well, but the skin is still (months later) very discolored and, well, kinda ugly. I find that I have to be very careful icing that spot now because the skin is sensitive to cold. I don't know if it'll ever be back to normal. Let this be a warning: ice carefully!

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