You will be in an altered state for many moons...

If your Achilles tendon is ruptured, torn, or even simply inflamed with tendonitis, your life is about to change. Mine sure has - so I decided to chronicle these events, and create a place for others to share their experiences, advice, resources and emotions during our journey toward recovery.

Nothing in this blog is meant to take the place of the medical advice of your physician. Follow the instructions of your medical professionals, not me.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

26. And you thought torture was against the Geneva Convention...

Take a look at what fun I've been having in physical therapy. Imagine that you have a large, bumpy, tender scar on the largest tendon in your body. Now - imagine someone forcefully scraping a stainless steel instrument the size of a butcher knife up and down that scar, with the sole purpose of "breaking down scar tissue." Good times...

Welcome to the world of physical therapy - and the Graston Technique.

I'm slapping my jaws about it, but the reality is...I think it works.  It's a bit too early to tell for certain, but I think I can see some improvement after two of about ten sessions I'm scheduled for.

I started PT this past week and have been twice.  The first time was basically an evaluation.  Good news on that front - I'm healing very well.  In fact, my range of motion is EXCELLENT - so - that shows that all that gentle stretching I've been doing has paid off.  One less thing to worry about.

Apparently my marked limping is not due so much to the tendon as it is to my weakened calf and ankle muscles.  I can buy that.  I wore some form of a boot or a cast for nearly 8 months - that right there will weaken your leg significantly, even without surgery.

So - the great news is that the tendon itself is completely healed.  YAY!  Now - two problems still exist.

1.  The scar is very raised and bumpy, which is not good if I ever want to wear cute shoes again.  Which I do.  So - we've got to minimize that scar.  Even if it wasn't for cosmetic reasons, a scar that is swollen and uneven can cause undue stiffness, so it's gotta go.

2.  My entire left leg is very weak.  This creates balance issues, as well as all sorts of aches and pains that come with favoring my right leg.  So - gotta strengthen that leg up.

The leg strengthening thing is easy - though tiring.  Basically, it's just a lot of different exercises meant to strengthen my calf and ankle muscles.  They actually feel good and even after just two sessions, I can tell a difference.  Of course, I'm doing some of them at home as well.

That scar stuff?  DIFFERENT STORY.  The Graston Technique is, quite simply, very painful.  This is coming from a woman who had four kids without anesthesia!  When I say something is painful, I mean it.

It does make sense though.  If you've ever had therapeutic massage, you know that the therapist often uncovers sore knots in your muscles.  This is part of what is worked on in the Graston technique, and though it's tender and can be painful, you know it's doing some good.

The sucky part is when the therapist starts scraping, rubbing and bearing down on that Achilles tendon and scar.  OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH.  She kept saying to me, "You doing ok?  I need you to talk to me.  You ok up there?"

Finally I gasped, "Stop.  Listen.  I can't carry on a conversation with you going to town on me like that."  She said, "I can stop, or ease up if you like."  I twisted around and looked at her and said, "Let me ask you something.  Will this be over sooner, in fewer sessions, if you just have at it and I suffer through it?"  "Yes," she said ruefully.  I sighed.  "Then tear the roof off the sucker.  I want to see light at the end of the tunnel!"

So off we went into Agony Land. 


1 comment:

  1. Great, I've had four children too and now you have me scared stiff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!