Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Disclaimer: This post is going to be absolutely boring and unappealing to anyone other than those rehabilitating an injury or those who want to prevent one.

My first physical therapy appointment happened today, exactly 8 weeks from date of dislocation. I know the exact date because it's the most freakishly weird injury I've ever had. Google peroneal subluxation and you'll see why. I had specific instructions from the surgeon to pass on to the therapist. My hyper vigilant need to immediately share the exact information along with my extreme mental fear of the tendon viciously cracking against the bone must have made me look like a wild eyed crazy person. After our first hour, she kind of laughed and said "you are pretty intense!" I'm still trying to figure out if that is a good or bad thing.

2nd Disclaimer: It could also be that lack of sleep and intense fatigue from three very sad work related days have left me confused about date, time and the English language.

While I'm excited to be starting PT, I've got to say it was really hard. I have no strength left at all, but I learned a lot.

The first 20 minutes we just worked on standing correctly. Standing! I guess I stand on my heels which puts all stress on the peroneal tendons. My shoes also push my feet out adding to the problem. Combined with my genetically altered perching tendons -I was a predisposed waiting to happen mess. So, now I'm learning to stand straight with weight moved forward over the balls of my feet so my calves and the rest of me do some of the work.

Second, I got to do some ballet moves (tendu) with the weight centered over my injured foot. I worked on squaring my hips, pulling up from the center, and utilizing my entire foot and body to support my weight. ALL OF THIS I KNOW, but obviously have forgotten since becoming a lazy non-dancer. "Sigh" I used to be so disciplined. What happened?

Third, I'm doing isometrics to strengthen ankle support muscles. Pretty easy stuff, but it's so hard mentally. Some of the moves will replicate the exact moment of dislocation. Psychologically, I'm just not over it.

Absolutely no other exercise yet. In fact, I will start on an extreme core whole body strengthening program on Monday. Until I'm much stronger, I can't do anything else. We're rehabbing it just as if I'd had the surgery. She's confident I'll run again, but it could be another four months. Baby steps. At least I've got a plan. Remember? I'm good with plans.

Monday, February 21, 2011


This weekend, my friend Danni and others have been out in the Alaska wilderness running the Susitna 100. I'm fascinated by this race since I love running during winter conditions - and runners have to pull a sled with all their emergency supplies. Danni constantly impresses me with her bravery to try new things and her mental toughness. Can't wait to read her race report!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bragging about my sister

Check out my sister's new book! Educators, social workers, and anyone looking for ways to engage our youth will definitely find it interesting and worthwhile.

No surgery yet. This is the start of week 8. I'm walking better, have less pain, and start physical therapy on Wednesday. There's been no major crack/snap of the tendon, just the "normal to me" clicking. Not that clicking should be normal, but both my feet, ankles, knees, hips, etc. do it.
After watching Natalie Portman's feet in Black Swan, I totally understand why I'm falling apart.

I believe this almost two month period of time is the longest in my lifetime that I've gone without ANY sort of exercise. What amazes me the most about it is how much my body aches. Not the injury site, I expect pain there, but the rest of me. Some of that is from compensation, but some is just doing nothing. It's rather sad.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The results are in

First of all, I've had a great experience with my orthopedic surgeon. Knowing I had to travel to see him, he agreed to call with the results of the MRI and discuss treatment options. My cell phone was at the ready for the past two days, with staff knowing to take over if needed. I was afraid if it went to voice mail, I'd never connect with the doc.

When the call came, the first thing he asked is if I was teaching, and if I needed to find someone to cover while he waited. How nice was that? He also took quite a bit of time to explain everything and answer my questions.

The recap - MRI shows "high signaling" in the area of the retinaculum (tissue that holds peroneals in place) and bone edema. Which means that I had a tear which has started healing on its own, explaining the lack of current dislocation. For now, we're going to continue treating it conservatively in hopes that it will repair itself completely. Dr. T would have still done surgery to suture it in place, but with a family history of nerve disease he wants to do surgery on me only as a last result. After two more weeks in a brace, I'll start PT. If during PT, no dislocation, we'll start to build back up to normal activity. If it dislocates again, we'll do surgery at that time. Even surgery won't be the end of the world after he explained the proces and rehab.

What impressed me most was the concern regarding my sister's surgery experiences and lifetime with RSD. That fact that he was aware of current research, and the risks it presented to me, was very reassuring. Even if I have to eventually go that route, I feel like I'm in good hands. Either way, it will be awhile before I get to run.

But, I'm ok. Knowledge is amazing when it comes to easing anxiety.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Surgeon Visit and MRI

Yesterday, I braved nasty roads to meet with a foot and ankle specialist in Great Falls. Of course, the day of appointment, my tendon behaved nicely. It didn't matter what we threw at it, the sucker wouldn't budge. That's good news if I had a small tear and it's healing on its own. Not sure what it means if my MRI comes back with bad news. I'm starting to look at this whole ordeal as a lesson in science. A few interesting things...

My feet are abnormal. I've said this before. Now, it's been confirmed by two doctors and an orthotic specialist. According to the surgeon, my peroneal tendon sits "perched" on the outside of my ankle bone, rather than behind. Genetics determined this, not anything I've done along the way. This might have predisposed me to injury.

Surgeons are cutters. They like to cut. End of topic.

Insurance companies are difficult. I was told I could not have the MRI for a week and not until the surgeon's notes were reviewed. The next day I was told I didn't need a prior authorization, so had to drive all the way back up today for the MRI.

The MRI machine sounds almost like jazz. I tried to pick out the patterns and come up with musical arrangements as I waited.

Orthotics are expensive. I just put down a whole lot of money to be told that I probably don't need them. Then, I talk to the orthotic guy who tells me I'm going to be difficult to fit because my feet are strange. I badly overpronate with a small part of my foot but the rest of it supinates. Go figure.

Hopefully, I'll have the results tomorrow.

Also, to any local readers/friends, thank you for the support. The emails, calls, invites for coffee, flowers, food, volunteering to walk the dog, etc. are all very appreciated. Sometimes the not so good things remind me of how good I've really got it.