Physical Therapy Begins

As scheduled, physical therapy started up for me this week.  This past Wednesday and Friday were my first two appointments and, true to what my Orthopedist had stated, the focus for the first week or so is indeed on flexibility, stretching, and range of motion.

Each session has started out with some pretty standard stretching for my hamstring, achilles, and calf.  It's amazing how tight everything has become.  What's more amazing, and disturbing, is how much my left leg has atrophied in the 3 weeks since my accident.  I'd hazard a guess that I've lost about 1/3 of the muscle mass in my left calf.  It's really quite deflating to be honest.  I know that this will come back once we start doing some weight bearing exercises, but realizing how weak this leg has become is just an added mental strain.

The real fun of these first two sessions really starts when all the preliminary stretching is completed and the work on the ankle itself begins.  Ummm, ouch.  The areas where the tendons / ligaments were repaired are very tight, to put it mildly.  And the muscles that support the ankle are equally as tight - still in 'defense' mode, as my new best buddy, Garry the Physical Therapist, calls it.  When the muscles all contracted at the time of the accident - attempting to keep the ankle from being damaged - there was certainly some tearing of those muscles due to the force of the incident.  Now, they're sore, tight, and not all that willing to give up a lot of ground when it comes to moving my ankle.

My first session was pretty easy and I hobbled out of the office a little disappointed.  Not so much yesterday, however.  My ankle is still sore, and it was almost a full 24 hours ago that I had my 'workout'.  Gary did a his usual twisting, pushing, and pulling on my ankle, but he paid a bit of extra attention to the tendons and ligaments on the medial side of the joint.  I mentioned to Garry, half jokingly, that the procedures du-jour might have "left a mark".  I was quickly told that this is nothing compared to what's coming once we start weight bearing exercises at some point next week - and this all lasts for at least a month and half.  I've had a few people mention to me that the recovery process might be just about as painful as the break itself.  Based on my experience yesterday I'd have to say that there might be some truth to that assumption.

On the bright side, a lot of the fluid buildup in my foot and ankle is dissipating and I was able to see some improvement in the overall movement of the joint in just a few days.  I'm having a tough time keeping my impatience in check, though, as there's no way to fast-track this process.

I'm headed to the pool tomorrow to get in some laps and water walking.  I can't wait - I miss the cardio, and I'm hoping that I can keep up some base level of fitness while rehabbing.  In the meantime, I have a date with some Ibuprofen and an ice pack this morning.