This Wednesday I left work a little early to head up to Vancouver, Washington to start physical therapy. I know that leaving the state to get treatment sounds a little extreme, but the last time I got PT, it was pretty much useless. This time I wanted to go to a known entity, so I tracked down the guy that helped me with the stress fracture I had on the other leg over ten years ago, and made an appointment with him. This is why I ended up in Vancouver – this is where he works. I don’t know why my mom had me go to a guy in Vancouver back in high school, but I was happy with the outcome so I didn’t question it.
Once I got there, the PT walked out and introduced himself to me. It was just a minute in when he gave me the funny squint/head-tilt and asked, “I haven’t seen you before, have I?” I told him that he had, ten years ago. He said that my name had sounded familiar, but that he remembered that person being a kid – and then when I gave him a strong handshake, he was sure it couldn’t be the same person. Little he did he know that I’ve been taking hand-shaking lessons for almost ten years now. He also didn’t seem to realize that I am a normal person that ages, so being a kid ten years ago doesn’t mean that I still am. It wasn’t until he watched me run that he completely remembered me based on my gait. Apparently it hasn’t changed much since back then. For reference, here’s what I looked like at age 15:
I’m the one in front in the running picture (duh, I was really fast back then). Here’s what I look like now:
I’ve X-ed out people who are not me. To be clear, the Xs definitely don’t represent any hate or checked off hit-list victims at all, I actually love all those people a lot – I just don’t want you to confuse them with me. The point is, I look identical to my 15 year old self, and my PT should have recognized me.
Once we got over the issue of recognizing or not recognizing me, the PT paid a little attention to my leg. Here’s a close up of my current situation, so you can follow along:
The red part is where it hurts when I run, and the PT was able to tell me why. It turns out that I run “behind my legs,” as he put it. This means I kick my legs out far in front of me when I run, but don’t push off and kick them back behind me to follow through and finish my stride. I primarily use my quads, and don’t really bother with my hamstrings at all. The result is that my stride creates more instances of my shins bowing back (he compared this to sticking a rod in the ground and leaning back on it, making it bend). I’m not sure if this makes sense when I try to write it out, but basically this combined with the fact that I “have tibias up to my armpits,” according to the PT (thanks?), I’m really susceptible to stress fractures.
He sent me home with a list of exercises to do until I see him next, with the goals of:
- strengthening my hammies
- strengthening my tibia anterior
- strengthening my calf muscles
- loosening my IT band
- increasing ankle flexibility