Tuesday, August 30, 2005

To PT or not to PT, that is the question

After taking yesterday off, I got back out there for a run today. Didn't wake up early, so the weather kind of sucked. (Around 80 degrees, with an occasional light sprinkle.) Tomorrow I must, and I will, wake up early. I always say that I hate waking up early, but I love having woken up early.

Anyway, I got in 4 miles, at a nice leisurely 10:15 pace. Although I defnitely have to slow down from my race pace, I wonder if running slower doesn't hurt my legs more. I feel like I land heavier when I'm running slower. When I'm running faster, I feel light on my feet, and as soon as my foot comes down, it's toeing off for the next step. So maybe I should run faster to avoid injury! Any thoughts out there?

Speaking of which, today it was my right leg that hurt. Both my calves felt tight, but I'm pretty certain that this was from running hard on Sunday. However, the right shin hurt a little on the side and front, which I worry about. It was actually tough to get started because of the pain, but once I was running it wasn't too not bad.

Although I am constantly worrying and obsessing about every little pain in my legs, I am somewhat consoled by the fact that it seems to hurt in different places all the time. In my experience as a doctor, when the patient says it hurts "right here", you're more likely to find a problem than when the patient says it hurts "all over".

Since I've been blogging about this, a number of people have suggested PT to me. Although I have some time now, soon I won't. It's also pretty expensive. I suppose these two problems could be dealt with, if I really thought it would help. I'm just wondering what are they going to do for me? I already stretch. I'm doing some strengthening exercises (although not in the gym). I ice. I have cushioned shoes (for my neutral foot). I avoid running on concrete. Will they tell me to slow down my running? Do I need to pay for that advice?

I know a lot of people have had good experiences with PT. I'm just wondering if someone could give some specific examples where PT really helped them.

Not to end on a downer, I have to tell you that my second poster board is full. Since my first race, I've been saving my race numbers and putting them into poster boards. Well Sunday's race was #18, taking up the last spot in my second board. Unfortunately, I currently do not have a camera. As soon as I can get someone to take a picture I will proudly post this record of my accomplishments!


Blogger Noames said...

woohoo on filling the poster board. That's awesome. Also, 18 is "chai", which is a lucky number according to the Jews (it means life), so that's kinda cool too.

RE: PT. I've never done it, but couldn't you maybe get a consultation with one, and see if the plan they propose sounds promising?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005  
Blogger partyrunner said...

what PT did for me: at first i seriously thought nothing (and the first verdict is still out). i have good insurance so all in all i paid 30 bucks for something like 12-14 sessions. some of them definintely felt like a waste of money. my itb band wasn't getting better and some of my sesions were like 20 minutes long, with stretches i could have done at home. then they started doing ultrasound every week behind my troubled knee. and i learned more stretches. and i healed. the invaluable part for me was learnign proper stretching. i'm not sure if you have that, you said you do. they didn't do things like look at my run or posture. they deterined i simpy had very tight muscles.
is this helping?
thought not.
if i had to pay a lot of money, i might have felt like my money was wasted to be honest. eventually, my pain would have subsided and i'd have gone on my merry running way.

HOWEVER, because i didn't know proper stretching, now i feel i have to take that back. i'm 3 or 4 weeks into my training and so far, so good.

if you choose to go, go in with a firm goal. x bothers me, what can i do to change it, or whatnot.

and yes, congrats on your poster board being full!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005  
Blogger Brooklyn said...

We've talked about this before and you know my thoughts...but here goes:

I'm in PT now, as you know. I FIRST saw a sports doctor (Dr. Maharam) and though he is very expensive to see (doesn't take insurance), he is very good at what he does and makes sure to follow up. and YES, he looked at my feet, my knees, my stance, my posture, tugged this way and that on my joints, and put me on the treadmill. Barefooted. And winced. And asked me how I ever finished the marathon. He pointed out bad mechanics, bad form, and weak muscles. He prescribed PT as a major step toward overcoming my runner's knees... and I'm also having custom orthotics built. Even the temporary ones are helping.

the physical thereapy appointments, for me, are $12 each with insurance...or $50 each without. They last about an hour, sometimes a little more. I don't like doing the therapy without insurance paying for part of it, but for me it's worth it. Here's why:

They taught me stretches I didn't know. They keep an eye on my main problem as well as address new aches and pains. They teach me more stretches I didn't know. They have me doing TKEs to build the RIGHT muscles in the RIGHT ways; not stuff I would have thought of myself. They have foam rollers that I use to roll my IT band. Can I do this at home? Sure; and I do. But ALSO while at the PT -- powerplate, which helps with the IT band stretching, the calf stretching, etc. Assisted stretching, in ways you simply can't do without another person - and I can feel it! Ice and stim -- takes pain away for awhile; really amazing stuff. Finally, deep tissue massage. My therapist really knows how to work the tightest parts of my IT band and I ALWAYS walk out feeling better than when I go in -- and the effect lasts and is cumulative. I'm back up to seven miles without pain, whereas before PT, I couldn't do two miles without pain. SEVEN!!!!

It boils down to these two points for me: one, nobody should have to run regular, healthy distances with pain. Period. and two, if running's your thing, if that's what keeps you healthy, then there is NOTHING more important than keeping the knees and ankles and joints and tendons and all that healthy and happy, even if that means spending money on PT, orthotics, and those stupid white foam rolls.

Are you foam rolling Danny?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005  
Blogger Danny said...

Whoa... (Though I guess I kind of expected that.)

What about the time? Brooklyn, how do you have time for all that?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005  

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