Friday, May 15, 2015

Ankle PT, Thus Far

Just to describe a typical 60-75 minute physical therapy session so far (four sessions), this is usually how it goes. I arrive, sit, bent at the waist on a table with legs outstretched while a PTA puts a pillow between my back and the wall. PTA then puts a hot-pack wrapped in a towel around the ankle for 5-10 minutes, and after that, starts manually testing the dorsal flexibility (dorsiflexion) of the joint, and generally massaging and stretching the joint in several directions. Today, we didn't start with the hot pack.

Then, we move on to something I can do by myself for 5-10 minutes:

That's simply pulling back on the towel to pull my foot back 10°+, hold for 15 seconds, and release. Repeat that about 15 times.

Then,the towel scrunches. PTA brings a chair, lays a towel on the floor in front of the chair. The goal is to scrunch up as much of the towel as possible on the impossible high-traffic carpet.  :)  So, I do this alone for 10 minutes, ~100+ times curling my toes. Ya feel that  the next day, I'm tellin' ya. I do this at home when I'm on the computer, 20-50 at a time.

I'm getting this out of order. We usually do this now after the "calf pulls." The PTA holds one end of the elastic band, and I flex my foot upwards against the resistance 15-30 times. I've been making the PTA go hard on this, as it feels really good, and seems to loosen me up the best.

Thirty marbles on the floor. Pick 'em up with yer bigger toes first, and drop them in the flower vase. Then, dump 'em on the floor and use your little toes to do the same. Also a bit of a trick, but I could not have done it ten days ago.

I think this is called a "wobble board." This is used for both CW and CCW rotation exercises. I have trouble with CCW right now, but CW is going pretty good!

We do some especially fun weight-bearing exercises on the parallel bars. Practicing a slow walk with 50% leg/50% arms-and-other-leg, stepping over small hurdles, again starting and ending with ~50% weight on the bad leg, using an inclined plane to increase the dorsiflexion while shifting weight (hurts like a MoFo).

My favorite part!  ... although I only have four electrodes, and two are on my thigh, one on the calf, and one on the bottom of my foot. This is always the final part of the day's routine, as it helps alleviate swelling in the foot by causing the muscles in the leg to rhythmically twitch, and pump the excess fluid upwards. This takes 15-20 minutes, and varies in intensity, and is usually accompanied by heat packs on the entire leg.