Sunday, September 21, 2008

Calf Part 5

I had a good week. On Thursday I did an 8 mile bike ride. I had no pain after that. Friday I had a good PT appointment - 90% strengthening.

On Saturday I biked to 4 Lakes where Amy was playing in a charity blind draw. I played a pickup game. After an hour I had no pain, so I played another one. After another 45 minutes I still had no pain, so I played 3 more pickup games. I wasn't going all out, probably somewhere between 50% and 75%. I didn't jump a lot, maybe a total of 8 or 9 times. I also wasn't very fast to dive/adjust forward. At the end of the day I biked the 4 miles home.

Sunday the whole leg was a bit stiff - mostly in the upper leg, which I attribute to a lack of use the last few weeks. The lower leg feels good.

I have 3 more weeks of twice a week PT. I think it is helpful, but, I'm not sure I'll need to go to all of the remaining appointment. We'll see.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Calf Part 4

Things keep getting better with my calf. I haven't used my crutches since September 5th. Each day I am walking better, I am now able to walk heal to toe, instead of shortening the step or putting the foot out sideways.

On the 5th at PT I did a recumbent stepper. When I started I was going at a pace of about 12 steps / minute. After 10 minutes I was up to 24 steps / minute. At the next PT on the 9th I started at 24 steps / minute and finished at about 50 steps / minute. And then on the 12th I started at about 50 steps / minute and finished at about 100 steps / minute. That is about the limit - the machine also moves my arms, and, that is about as fast as I can go without rocking the machine violently.

The last week we've been focusing on enabling me to straighten my leg without pain. That is no longer a problem. Now we are focusing on strengthening the leg and stretching it.

I have two more PT appointments this week, and a doctor's appointment too. I'll see what the doc says - I'm optimistic that I'm on schedule to return to volleyball by October.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Calf Part 3

On Friday I went to my second PT appointment. It went very well again. I went in being unable to bear any weight on my right leg, and came out able to walk (very badly) without crutches.

I have continued to limp around since then without crutches around the house & office. Longer distances I still use my crutches. Each day the pain and swelling have improved. Now the only issue is that it is difficult/painful to straighten the leg fully.

On Friday I received an ultrasound treatment, in addition to the "normal" heat, massage, stretching and ice. I didn't notice any immediate result of the ultrasound, but, I guess I can't argue with the results.

My next appointment is today, Tuesday. I'm expecting more improvement.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Calf Part 2

I saw my PT (Physical Therapist) today, Kelly. I was somewhat skeptical going into the appointment, but, I think it helped and future sessions will continue to help. Today the focus was on two things: 1) trying to get me to straighten my leg, and 2) reduce the swelling (the calf, ankle and foot are all very swollen). I got a few exercises to do, and she encouraged me to elevate the leg whenever possible. I am going to try to figure out how to elevate it while at work.

As far as treatment today, it started with moist heat and some massage. Then we worked on some of my exercises. At the end she wrapped it in a large ace bandage for 5-10 minutes, to squeeze out some of the swelling. That was also the point of most of the massage.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Torn Calf Muscle Story

This is the long version of my calf muscle injury story. I honestly don't know why I'm documenting it here... maybe because my memory is so bad I'm worried about forgetting the details myself.

Saturday, August 16: I woke up with pain in my right calf. At the time I described it as being similar to the pain in my calf muscle after I've had a bad cramp in the calf. In hindsight I think that this had nothing to do with a cramp, and that was the only kind of muscle pain I had experience with. Anyway, I woke up with minor pain in the calf. It hurt a little bit while standing in line, but it wasn't too bad. I went ahead and played a full day at the blind draw - won the ugly - 13 games played including pickup. No pain once I started playing.

Sunday, August 17: Again I woke up with minor pain in the calf. I went ahead and played pickup at 4 Lakes, about 3 hours, probably about 7 games. Again, no pain once I started playing.

Monday, August 18: Again, I woke up with minor pain. I went to work. I don't recall really noticing the pain for too long. I played pickup Monday night (our regular league was postponed). No pain while playing.

Tuesday, August 19: I don't recall if there was morning pain. Let's assume there was. I did not play Tuesday night.

Wednesday, August 20: I woke up with slightly worse pain, odd because I didn't play the night before. Wednesday afternoon at work the pain got worse, I remember a moment or two where it was really bad - again just miscellaneous muscle pain. No volleyball again.

Thursday, August 21: The pain was much worse this morning. I stayed home from work. I got an afternoon appointment at my PCP. She was concerned about a blood clot, so I went to get an ultrasound. At first they weren't going to give me a Thursday appointment, but, I told them I'd wait around and see if they could squeeze me in, and they did. The ultrasound results were negative for a blood clot, and my PCP didn't really give me much more advice. Take advil, don't use it, it is probably a tear - but I didn't have any confidence in this diagnosis.

Friday, August 22: The pain was bad, but, I didn't want to sit around at home all day, so I went to work.

Saturday, August 23: Again, bad pain, Amy and I went to the EVP tourney at 4 Lakes. I walked around a little, and got some comfort from others who'd been through similar injuries. That night the pain started to move to my high ankle, and it got much worse. At this point I had to start using crutches as I could no longer put weight on the leg.

Sunday, August 24: The pain was horrible in the morning. I considered going to the ER, but ultimately decided against - in part because I know how much they charge, and in part because if I didn't move at all the pain was manageable. When the pain peaks I notice that my right foot is very swollen. It can get very large and red, but, even at its best I can't fit it into my pair of everyday sneakers... even my socks hurt - they squeeze too much.

Monday, August 25: The pain again was really bad. I stayed home from work again and went to my Ortho. He suspected a tear (after hearing about the ultrasound - he too thought it might be a clot). He scheduled me for an MRI the next day.

Tuesday, August 26: Average pain day. By the time of the MRI it was feeling pretty good. I had to do a double session because they couldn't scan my whole lower leg in one shot. I read a bit about MRI's the night before, so I was curious about the apparatus. The tech told me it was a 0.35 Tesla machine - superconducting magnet, liquid helium cooled. Neat.

Thursday, August 28: I had an evening appointment with my Ortho to get the MRI results. The report said severe strain, when I questioned him on that he said it translated to a muscle tear. Ok. I really wanted to get a pic or two of the MRI results, but I didn't. He told me I could take up to 3200 mg of Advil / day. I had only been taking up to 800 mg. He told I should expect to be out for 6-8 weeks. Assuming that starts with the first sign of pain, the 6 weeks would be up on September 27. He also said I should start PT (Physical Therapy) 2-3 times per week. He sent me upstairs at their office to set that up. BTW, my doctor is Dr Marquardt, one of the Ms at M & M Ortho. I just noticed, they have a volleyball net on their home page. He also said that I should start walking on it when I can.

Saturday, August 30: Finally some signs of improvement... after a week of constant crutches and a whole lot of pain, in the evening I started hobbiling around without my crutches. I am also able put a sneaker on my right foot again.

Monday, September 1: I continue to hobble around without using my crutches! My Advil use is also down somewhat - 400 - 600 mg. I now have pain in the back of the right leg, above the knee, but on the back. This is probably due, in part, to the way I've been carrying the leg while on the crutches.

Tuesday, September 2: Today

Wednesday, September 3: My first day of PT... 3 weeks of twice a week scheduled. I'll have to see a) how much they charge, and b) how much my insurance will cover. I'd like to go to all of the sessions, but, if it is going to cost too much I might not.

Click the calf label below to see if there are any updates... for those not familiar, bloggers can add labels (better known as tags) that describe the post, I'll use that one in any future posts about this.

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