First PT Visit (and "Suzanne Somers" Exercises)

>> 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....

.... and I hit a treadmill as she filmed me. Lindsey's into filming. Kinky.

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

Not including my short runs at the PT, I ran 3 times this past week! And I even worked in a little speed yesterday!! I'm using this advice from Lindsey, and it's working so far! More on these runs shortly....

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!!


LB 8:29 AM, April 10, 2011  

glad youre starting to feel a little better! funny how a weak butt can wreak havoc on so many areas!!! i have knee and ankle issues because my butt is weak. speaking of which, ive gotta go do my suzanne somers exercises! peace out!

Jumper 2.0 8:41 AM, April 10, 2011  

Knowledge can be so weird. Ever since the end of my first season of running I have read and understood what you are learning now. I don't pay attention to my cadence all the time now because it's good, but I use to comment on it all the time and focus on it! I would do some runs where my whole focus was on cadence and didn't worry about pace at all.
Then there are the things that you know, that I don't, that I could benefit from. If only there was a way to know what each of us didn't know, but the other knew to share.
Or something like that! ;-)

Tawnee Prazak, M.S., CSCS 11:08 AM, April 10, 2011  

Great insight.

Best of luck on your recovery and getting a big, strong ass ;)

Kate 4:35 PM, April 10, 2011  

As a PT, I would tell you to DO YOUR HOME EXERCISES! She sounds very insightful and knowledgeable! And yes, filming is kind of a PT thing. ;)

Steve Stenzel 4:43 PM, April 10, 2011  

I'm doing them, I'm doing them!! :) I did the "donkey kicks" off the side of my couch a few hours ago!

tim 5:14 PM, April 10, 2011  

Ever tried running in Vibram FiveFingers or doing some barefoot running? It immediately helped me not heel strike and cleared up what issues ART therapy couldn't...

Penny 5:59 PM, April 10, 2011  

Glad you are able to get a few miles in and are doing better. Thanks for posting the ex.

Richelle 12:39 AM, April 11, 2011  

I do some of the same PT exercises you've just been prescribed (just the hip abductor ones). It's amazing how much your glute muscles can affect your running form. I'm also working on upping my cadence to 180 to see if that helps my right knee.

SteveQ 10:29 AM, April 11, 2011  

Do your exercises and you'll look like Kim Kardashian...

Steph 12:57 PM, April 11, 2011  

I'm so glad you posted this in so much detail. I'm a total heel striker and I'm trying to improve. While running on the treadmill I kept what you wrote in my mind and concentrated on my strikes per minute. I'm at 160 as well, but easily fall below that if I don't pay attention. I need to keep it above....we've got our work ahead of us! :)

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman 9:10 AM, April 12, 2011  

I've been wanting to get a video of myself on the treadmill! I'm glad to hear it helped you figure out some things to work on! Hopefully they help to fix the problem.

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