Sunday, April 4, 2010

Do It Yourself Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is in some ways worse than recovering from surgery.

Here I am with a relatively pain free ankle. Sure, I can't walk, let alone move my foot or toes. But the ankle, for the most part, isn't bothering anybody. Then comes along physical therapy. Of my own free will, I move, stretch, and bend my ankle just enough to get my pain to a four. In the end, my ankle is sore and it's all my fault.

When I was recovering from surgery, the pain was always there but I wasn't doing anything to cause it. I just sat there and the ankle hurt. The ankle and I had an understanding. There was no need to move it to cause pain. I'd sit there doing nothing and it'd hurt.

Like I said in an earlier post, I have 10 million exercises I have to do every day, sometimes more than once a day.

This one is called the ankle four-way. It's pretty straightforward. I rest my ankle on a small stool and move it left to right and up and down. I do 2 sets of 20 repetitions once a day. The left to right movement is essentially impossible for me right now.

I just started laughing when I read this one. I'm supposed to move my foot in clockwise and counterclockwise circles. As soon as my foot goes into this position, it turns into a sausage. I'm supposed to do 2 sets of 20 a day. I can do zero sets at the moment.

This exercise is also easy to understand. It builds the muscle on top of my shin. I have to do 2 sets of 20 three times a day. I'm at zero.

This is an important exercise if I want to restore my calf muscle to its former glory. However, my toes don't quite bend like that yet. Not surprisingly, I'm at zero sets when it calls for 2 sets of 20 three times a day.

This is a toe intrinsics exercise. While I'm supposed to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions a day, I can't do any until my toes work.

This exercise allows you to move like a snake on the floor using only your feet. It also strengthens your ankle by using your other foot for resistance. I must perform 10 sets of once a day, holding the position for about six seconds.

Once a day I'm supposed to push my foot against a sturdy pillow.

Then I squeeze the pillow to death. Once my ankle is back to normal, this pillow is dead.

Here I think I'm supposed to push my foot against a crowbar. I haven't purchased a crowbar yet.

These last two exercises are probably my most important right now. They involve loosening up my toes, particularly my big toe. One of the unfortunate things that happened in surgery number two was that all of my toe tendons were pulled apart to gain access to my bones. It felt amazing.

All of these exercises require a ton of motivation. Every single one of them hurts. It takes me about an hour right now to do all of them. What I'm hoping for, though, is to see and feel progress.


  1. Never have an injury that requires physical therapy.

  2. I work next to the R.T. Department and have never seen the therapist carry a crowbar. Someone might think they're a ring of burglars. I think a good cotton rope would work better. Less chance it would hurt you or Brooke if it was dropped. It's also a little cheaper. Love ya. Dad

  3. Tony, Sending you motivation and hopes for progress to be seen and felt. Hope the Crosby shirt fit. Wasn't that Duke/Butler game awesome! ma