Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Learning to stretch

The P.T. is a P.I.T.A.


After lollygagging for two weeks, I finally made it to the Physical Therapist for the Pes Anserine Bursitis. I'm now doing a daily set of exercises that works on--of all places--my butt. In reality, its not the PT who's to blame. Rather, its me for resisting placing the call to the PT for help.

Two weeks later I came to the appointment well rested. Having only run 3 times in the preceding 18 days, the area of pain was not irritated. I received instruction for a few specific exercises:

* Clams - Hold 5 seconds. Repeat 15 times.
* Bridge - Hold 10 seconds. 15x.
* Bent Knee Hip Extension (The real PITA) - Hold 5 seconds. 15x.
* Seated Hamstring stretch - Hold 30 seconds. 1-2x.

The Bent Knee Hip Extension: Lie down on stomach with hands at side. Bend leg at knee, with lower leg pointing straight up. This is start position. For exercise, raise hip up and hold 5 seconds. Repeat 15x.

While I understood that the Pes Anserine is associated with the hamstring, I didn't expect my physical therapy exercises to be a pain in the butt. Three out of four of these exercises focus on the glutes. I guess its just counterintuitive; that the pain resides in my lower leg, yet the approach is to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes.

The pain is a good pain. But this stretching thing is hard work. More difficult than running. Really. Those Bent Knee Hip Extensions cause more grunts and groans than I care to admit.

I'm amazed at what just a little bit of instruction can do. My PT taught me a better way to stretch/isolate the hamstrings. I also asked for something that could be done while at work; he gave me a seated hamstring stretch that I'm able to do while sitting at my desk.

Its been only four short days since starting the PT, but I feel its helping. Since I had no pain, it was suggested to start running. So I have. Included with the daily stretches, I've now run twice for about 30 minutes each. No signs of pain. While the outlook is good, I plan to take it easy for a few more runs. I have another visit with both the PT this week and the Doctor next.

This year hasn't started out like recent years and I'm a bit behind on building a base. And that's okay. While its really easy for me to start dreaming of the future and getting ahead of myself, on this day I'm still taking this injury one day at a time. For today, I'm learning how to stretch.

Now if I can only learn to do a flip-turn...

In other developments...

Only 16 days into the new year, I've eclipsed my scant 2006 swim mileage (5.4 miles.) In six swims so far in '07, I'm at 5.7 miles with long swims of 2000 and 2100 yards (new distance PR.) Swimming at our city's brand new YMCA is chaotic, but that's a story for another day.


Blogger JenC said...

Great attitude! Good luck!

I look forward to hearing stories about the Y. I'm proud of you for swimming so much.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I need to be stretching also. Please comment on the new Y. Trying to decide whether to try it out or not.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Lloyd said...

Eric- the new pool is great, but crowded. The good news is that there are more swim hours than previously.

I've only swam in the evenings so far, and its been a zoo. Not condusive for lap swimmng. Of the four possible lanes, they've only marked two and the remaining section as a community pool. Lots of kids and family presence and waves galore. Especially in the near lane. Believe me, I'm not a fast swimmer and several times now I've been held up by non-considerate swimmers.

I imagine the mornings are ideal. I really like the pool.

10:11 PM  

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