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Running Through Water

It’s finally Friday! Thank goodness- I thought I’d never see the day! ;)

This won’t be an incredibly long post, but since I have had a few people ask me, I wanted to discuss my first week full week of physical therapy.

I am no stranger to PT; in fact, I have gone numerous times in the past eight years for different injuries. I’ve been for: left wrist ligament damage, right knee pain, possible stress fracture in my lower back, left shin splint, and now, for a (probable) left ankle stress fracture.

*sigh* I’m sure my health insurance company LOVES me. ;)

As I mentioned in my prior post, my therapists wanted to start me on a “staged running” routine using an underwater treadmill.

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The purpose of the treadmill is to gradually bring me back to running on land with no pain. Every session, the water level decreases and the duration I run increases. As I run, water jets provide resistance and also more buoyancy.

Since I had three sessions this week (Tuesday, Thursday and today) I used the treadmill three times.

On Tuesday, the water line was up to around my belly button and I ran for 15 minutes at about a 10:00 per mile pace. It was weird running through water, but I actually did not find it as difficult as I thought.

Since I had no pain on Tuesday, Thursday’s session was a bit longer and faster. The water line was reduced by a few inches, which allows for more weight on the ankle. I ran for 23:00 at about a 9:15 per mile pace. Today’s run was the same as Thursday’s.

In addition to the underwater treadmill, I am doing a lot of work with resistance bands, massaging, and stretching.

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Even though it is probably a stress fracture (and not much can be done to fix the bone- just rest), the goal with all these exercises is to strengthen the muscles/ ligaments around the ankle.

A stress fracture is usually caused when the physical force exerted exceeds what the bone can withstand. The constant pounding of the foot with each stride provides a lot of force on the body. Muscles and ligaments normally absorb the shock, but when they are weak or overworked, the force is directly absorbed by the bone, and overtime, causes a fracture.

By strengthening the muscles and ligaments around the ankle, I am (hopefully) reducing the risk of future injuries.

After three sessions this week, I honestly feel good. The ankle hurts due to all the massaging they have been doing, but otherwise, I sometimes forget that I am injured.

In fact, I sort of feel like a fraud when I go into my sessions. I am surrounded by people limping, struggling to move their shoulder, or having difficulties turning their wrists.

Me? I walk right in with a bounce in my step, do all my exercises and underwater running with no pain (knock on wood), and skip right on out. The only time I have any pain is when one of my therapists does a deep massage.

So, that’s physical therapy- week 1. A bit frustrating since I don’t really feel injured, but yet, I am. I am making progress on the underwater treadmill (oh, and racking up some mileage for the week- I can count it right? ;) ) so it’s essentially a waiting game until my ankle decides to finally heal.

For next week I have been bumped down to two sessions (verses three). We’ll see what happens…

Have you ever been to physical therapy? And because I’m curious- have you ever ran on an underwater treadmill?

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One Response to Running Through Water

  1. The underwater treadmill sounds amazing! I hope it works out for you. :) I’ve been to physical therapy for fractured wrists a lot, after ankle surgery and after brain surgeries. I haven’t been in 5 years, though, and I hope to keep it that way! Best of luck with your recovery. :)

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