>> Sunday, April 10, 2011
Last Monday, I had my first physical therapy visit that was "prescribed" from my doctor's visit a few weeks ago. (Click here for my post about that from 2 weeks ago.) I met with Lindsey at the "Center for Orthopedic Medicine." I was told she likes to work with runners, and I could tell that was true.
We talked about the last 2.5 months. I forget JUST HOW MUCH info I've been told by different doctors or sports med friends! I was reciting everything off for her - or at least everything I could remember: night splints, heel lifts, KT tape, exercises I've been doing, exercises I've been avoiding, how I've changed my swimming technique so my heel won't hurt, shoes I've been wearing (for running and for daily life), stretches I've been doing, stretches I've NOT been doing, how often I've been foam rolling, etc, etc.
She wanted to see me run and see if that gave any indication of why my left leg always gets injured. So she had me change into my running clothes....
We watched the playback in super-slow-motion. A few things popped up:
#1: my left heel kicks up higher than my right.
#2: my feet don't track right in front of each other: they both cross the center-line (like I'm walking on a tight-rope).
#3: my strike-rate is a little too low: 160 / minute instead of 180 (where I should be).
She thinks the first 2 are due to a weak ass. Have you SEEN my butt? She probably has a point - it's pretty tiny. There's a good chance it's a little weak. So we were going to work on building some strength there.
The most interesting thing for me was what she said regarding #3. I had never thought of it this way, but BECAUSE I have too slow of a cadence is why I heel-strike so bad. When I try NOT to heel-strike, I really can't do it; it feels unnatural. But Lindsey changed my thinking on this: she said if I work on making my foot-strikes quicker, then I won't be over-striding, and I won't have "time" to heel-strike; I won't be "reaching" so far out in front of me (with my foot) as I stride, and I won't be as inclined to land on my heels. OMG. That makes SO much sense.
So she actually got a metronome, set it to 168 (she didn't want me to jump to 180 right away or it'd feel super foreign), and had me run for a few minutes while matching the beat of the metronome for the whole time. I could do it, and it felt good! I was still heel-striking a little, but it had gotten a LOT better right away!!
She also tried to aggravate my heel by having me do lots of l-legged heel lifts while holding dumbbells. After that, she poked and prodded at my heel, and said everything felt good and normal (or at least it DIDN'T feel like some other big problem).
Here are the 4 new exercises I've been doing:
Really kick BACK
This is the one she called "the Suzanne Somers" move
Also useful for kicking drunk men off your ass on the dance floor...
Doing this up to 2 times a day if I can do it without pain
Oh, and if you haven't entered the Minneapolis Triathlon swim / transition bag giveaway, scroll down a few posts (or click here) to enter. Thanks!!