The Torture Chamber


Is it physical therapy or is it torture disguised as support?


Seriously, even I know that the best way to treat tendonitis is to stop the offending activity and treat the problem, then return slowly to the activity.    My physical therapist definitely knows that and suggested it.  Problem is, I’m not a strong enough runner or far along enough in training to take the break required, and then catch up enough to complete the marathon without really hurting myself.  Further complicating the training plan is a 2 week break I will take next week when I am in China and not able to maintain Trouble1’s training plan.

So, I had a heart-to-heart with Dusty, my PT.  My feet were on fire. What to do?

Dusty: “I’d like you to take time off from training and come see me a couple of times a week to work on healing.”

Whitney: “Negative. Can’t be ready if I take a full 6 weeks off (healing plus China trip).  I need to keep going.”

Dusty: “Not what I’d recommend.”

Whitney: “Pleeease!?”

Dusty:  “Ok. We’ll get you taped, cut back your mileage, ice, exercises, come in twice a week. We’ll work to keep you going.”

Love him.

And then he started to work on me. First – calf massage.  True, the word “massage” sounds restorative, but calf massages are brutal, agonizing experiences.  Breathing exercises and trying to think of a grocery list were the only things keeping me on the table.  He stopped. I started to get up. But then, “No, please stay there. Just a second – I’m not finished yet.

And then this happened:


Yes. That’s what it looks like. Massive suction cups that are pulling the tissue on my legs all the way to Timbuktu.  If you think it’s the curve of the plastic making it look like my skin is half way into the cup, you would be wrong. My skin WAS that far.  TORTURE. Those things stayed on for eternity.  Evidently, the massage pushes in on the tight muscle tissue, so the suction counterbalances and pulls out. Ick. and OW!  I didn’t enjoy it.

This what my legs looked like after the suctions came off.


And this is Dusty, looking pretty satisfied post-treatment, don’t you think?  🙂


Oddly, though, there was a tremendous relief in my legs.  Of course, getting those things off was immediate relief, but within 15 minutes, I could feel my legs release.  It was amazing.  But, since I have real bruises on my legs from two treatments in one week, I begged him not to get near me with those suctions this week. So far, so good. Though, I do have another appointment on Friday, so we’ll see.

The good news is that despite the increase in my training mileage, Dusty is a master PT and I am actually feeling better even though I’m working harder. I’m PT believer. And I’m grateful.

And… Dusty said the nicest thing of all to me when I reported how I was feeling after an 8 miler and wondering whether he wanted to have me come in or wait.  “You should come in.  Marathoners become great friends with their PTs.”  Did you catch that? “Marathoners”.  That’s me!  I haven’t even done it yet and he still bestowed the honor, with all the confidence that it will happen.  Much better than another friend who, in the same week, said, “When I saw your email subject that you were training for a marathon, I thought it was spam. ” 

(I’m still friends with him because, truth is, my friends – even close ones – would not expect a marathon out of me  So, he’s forgiven.)

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