it’s been a little over a month since i started physical therapy for my leg. and what a heart-pounding adventure it’s been. im really out of shape.
in the interest of sharing my experiences for any other adult who has an out-toe and has no idea whats in store for them, i will tell you what i’ve been up to. maybe someday someone will google their way here and find a little assurance in some demystification of the untwisting process (? actually im not sure if my leg will visibly untwist).
the good news is that this week the doc told me i don’t look like i’ll need to surgically twirl the bone and my gait can be adjusted by continuing physical therapy. great news, because, despite the surgery feeling like a very direct way to address a problem that otherwise will take a lot of hard work and sweat, its probably really expensive and we just had to drop a lot on a new boiler. he does still seem a little weirded out by my skeleton despite his assurances. when you go to the leg doctor, they take your leg and wiggle it in a bunch of directions. my doctor told me my knee was weird a few times. not bad. and not specific. just weird. exactly what every patient wants to hear.
my physical therapy is covered by medicaid and thank god for it; i would actually be extremely bad at trying to correct this myself. the guidance a therapist offers you is invaluable and being physically forced to go to a location ensures i actually do them. the way i walk and move is so weird that i kept needing the therapist to physically re-adjust me until i started to feel muscles stretching in new directions. just knowing which muscles i needed to work on was useful information. so: if you can get physical therapy, i recommend it. my experience has been very positive and i can feel improvements especially to my balance! my balance was shockingly bad prior to this. my poor boyfriend has to be caught near me when i trip over nothing and faceplant onto the pavement.
an average visit goes like this: i arrive, i check in, i dump my purse and my coat on a chair and do 5 (then 10, then 15 as the month went on) minutes on a bike machine. the machine is recumbent so it doesn’t shatter my tailbone like upright bikes do. honestly, this is the most enjoyable activity to me because the way it works your muscles feels GOOD. years ago, i bought a step machine with the intention of using it to get fit and found it very difficult and painful to use regularly (especially in the fucked up knee lol). i had assumed it was just because i was THAT out of shape but it never seemed to get better no matter how many times i used it. now it gathers dust in the basement where it will stay, because it turns out i picked a body destroying machine by accident.
after the bike- wait i forgot. the first 2 days they would have me sit with a hot damp weighted towel on my knee and it was sooooooo good but then they stopped doing it. >:(
some context going forward: i am a 110 lb, 4’10” woman. not a typo. please do not sit on me. i have a history of bursitis in the fucked up knee. i created this chart to show you my various aches and pains, i hope it is useful. honestly the pin is my least favorite one because it makes me limp. it only kinda hurts but i can’t get the fucking thing to move right. second worst was the tooth-ache type pain that went away when they replaced my birth control. so. whatever.
anyway, then i do my exercises while my physical therapy guy checks in on me to make sure im doing things right and make small talk. “bridges” and “clam shell” exercises work the ass, which will help my hip bones face the direction they’re supposed to (i don’t remember what’s going on down there. they’re pointing out or down or something). specifically, the gluteus medius, the middle child of the ass, needs to be strengthened. i enjoyed doing the clam shells more with the resistance band; being able to work against something made me feel like i was actually doing some kind of physical work. the hamstring stretch also involves the band.
Tamarian voice: leon, on the floor
leg raises, in which you literally just lay down and lift one straight leg up in the air, were surprisingly difficult at first. maybe difficult isn’t the right word uhhh there was more resistance in my body than i was anticipating. the muscles dictating that action were pretty tight and unwilling to give way. anyway, after a month i can do it with 6lb weights attached.
there’s a smattering of other random exercises they had me do as well. it seems like we’ve been slowly whittling down my capabilities and needs by throwing things at me and seeing what puts us in the right direction. the very, very low squats completely destroyed every muscle in my body for a weekend so they were adjusted to account for my short height. i can squat much better now. not slavic style yet, but getting there. the ones where i just wiggle my knee up and down or kick my legs while sitting in a chair seemed extremely trivial for me, but now i go in and leave having broken a sweat.
i won’t lie, given the relative low intensity of the work out, i feel a little embarrassed about how hard i its for me. this is stupid, because everyone in the clinic is experiencing the same exhaustion from similar “easy” workouts. however, those people are all over 50; i am the youngest person i’ve seen there all month by a wide margin. i’m hesitant to call myself disabled, as i am to all outside observers a very weird looking able bodied adult woman and to claim that label feels like it indicates a more immediate seriousness to my condition. my knee hurts when i stand for long periods of time and i can’t walk far because my calves start to burn and every time i use stairs it hurts. but is it debilitating? no. does it affect my day to day activities? well, kind of. but what i am really, really worried about is how knee pain progresses. i need to get this done now so i’m not paying for it as an an old geezer. i want to minimize the amount of suffering i experience day to day as a general rule.
anyway i guess that’s it. i have a MRI soon for the knee which should be a very boring experience. they asked me if i had claustrophobia and i said no but after i hung up i was like “do i?” im afraid of literally everything else so i don’t know why this would be any different. guess we’ll see. check obituaries and see if someone died of a terror induced heart attack.