Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I go to PT, again.

I was super happy that UCSF was able to book me with the therapist I was seeing back when I had all my hip problems in 2013. He's the head of the department so sees fewer patients & is harder to schedule, but he also happens to be the guy that knows about running, so my doctor wanted me to see him specifically.

We started out as usual with all the basic mobility assessments where he watched me walk, run, squat, balance/hop on one leg, etc., then did some strength testing where he pushed and pulled on my legs in various ways while I tried to resist. The good news is that he said overall my strength is good and my movement/mobility is improved from 2013.

The bad news is that basically my entire left side is clearly significantly weaker than the right--hamstrings, hips, glutes, and wrapping around to my right lats. (Apparently it's kind of like how the left side of your brain controls the right eye & vice versa--the upper body muscles that help stabilize the pelvis/upper leg are on the opposite side. Like if you push off & back with your left leg, it's your right lats/upper core that resists the rotation & helps you balance.) Sometimes those imbalance things are a little tricky to tease out and determine, but this was just so immediately obvious in every strength test he did, even to me.

Before we started I told him about my theory regarding my left foot & how striking wrong & not engaging my arch might be causing all sorts of other problems up and down the line, and the article from AT, and how taping my left foot seemed to work magic, which he acknowledged was not entire ridiculous. (I call that a victory.) After doing all the strength testing & determining my left leg was clearly weaker, he explained how it it could be that weakness further up that's making it hard for me to use my left foot properly. So step 1 is definitely to do some targeted strength work on that left side for a couple of months & see if that helps.

In a way, this is the kind of bad news that's actually good news, in a way--He found a clear, unambiguous problem that *could* realistically be connected to the injuries I've had in my lower left and upper right legs over the last couple of years. It's when I see a medical professional and they just kind of look at me and shrug and say I'm perfectly normal as far as they can tell that it gets frustrating.

As it tends to go with PT, the exercises he gave me for my left hamstring and hip muscles are pretty simple but also incredibly difficult (which is a good sign I need to do them). He also recommended that I go back to doing some single-leg eccentric glute stuff, which I've been neglecting lately. Finally, he suggested that because my left heel and arch are definitely visibly collapsing a bit, even just when I walk, I should stick a Superfeet insert in my left shoe as a short-term solution while we work on strengthening the muscles. So hopefully that will give me some immediate relief.

On the plus side, he did not do this to me again:

I found this picture the other day and it was so cringe-inducing that I felt like it was worth sharing again. You're welcome. :)


  1. Whoa, that suction picture is intense! How long did you look like that?

    1. Heh, thankfully not that long! It all faded after a few days. Before he started he was like, "You're not doing any modeling in the next few days, are you?"

  2. It's always good news when a health professional finds out a cause and works out a strategy. It's when they have no clue that it's bad news. I'm glad you've got some direction now.