Thursday, January 29, 2009

Calf Part 10

I saw Dr Samuel Park, Ortho at the Dupage Medical Group in Lombard. First, let me say that I've been pleasantly surprised with the people and physical structure of the offices of the Dupage Medical Group - very pleasant.

I brought a copy of my MRI images, and gave Dr. Park a quick review of my history. Long story short, he says to keep doing what I am doing. When pain and swelling permit it I am allowed to play volleyball... even encouraged.

He thinks the original cause is because of overuse. He said my mild finger numbness is most likely a bit of carpal tunnel. He said the new minor injury on the other leg is also overuse. We discussed the possibility of getting another ultrasound, but, like everyone else I've talked to he feels that isn't really needed. If there was a clot in there it probably would have already done its damage.

He asked me if I wanted to go back to PT or if I felt like I remembered what we were doing there (I've already been to 15 visits). I did feel like I generally remembered, but, I also said that they do get better results - probably because they know how hard to push me and they keep my technique correct. Dr Park did write me a script for 12 PT visits, but, he did that more so I'd have it available as an option then because he felt I should definitely go.

I asked about the possibility of seeing a vascular specialist. He said that might be a good idea, and gave me the name of one.

In general, I liked Dr Park - he took the time to listen to all my questions and he provided thoughtful answers for them. However, I don't feel that I've really learned anything or that I should do anything differently. I suppose I will probably try to make an appointment with one of the vascular specialists he provided me info on.

Any comments?

Here are a couple snapshots of my MRI results. Plenty more where these came from if you're interested.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Calf Part 9

Here is an update from sunny Mexico...

On January 15th I saw a new general practitioner... I had been meaning to get a new primary care doctor, and I thought it best to start there with my recurring leg problems. He basically said I could get another ultrasound, but, don't worry too much unless the swelling gets much worse or the problems spread.

On Saturday, January 17th I started to play sand volleyball on the beach here in Mexico. It caused me no major problems until shortly after a clinic on Thursday, January 22, at which time I could feel the swelling going in full force.

I did not play again until Saturday afternoon. I was able to play at about 75% normal speed and force - not too bad. I taped my ankle and wore a brace, not too bad overall. A couple hours after playing, however, I noticed a knot in my calf in my left leg (all the previous problems have been in the right leg). This is not good - all the previous doctors I spoke to had said how encouraging it was that I had no symptoms in the other leg. I also had some pain in the left foot, heel & arch. I will certainly be paying attention to how this progresses... and I am planning on skipping the upcoming Sunday matches.

Another point of concern - I have been experiencing some mild numbness in my fingers this week. Also, Amy noticed that my hands were cold this afternoon, compared to hers - that's odd because usually mine are warmer.

It all seems to be pointing to some circulatory issue... but I'd rather let the experts weigh in and make that diagnosis. While in Mexico I've had the opportunity to speak to a few people with relevant experience... a couple of them have said they'll tell my story to some experts back home and get back to me. I am optimistic something will come of these discussions.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Calf Part 8

I played volleyball this week on Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday was indoor hard court, and Thursday was indoor sand. My ankle (and the rest of the leg) actually felt better on Wednesday then it did on Tuesday, so, I guess playing didn't hurt it. It feels pretty good right now, shortly after playing on it on Thursday - so, I'm very optimistic that I'll be ok for Ixtapa - where I'll be playing volleyball in about 40 hours!

I went to a new general practitioner doctor today. I liked him a lot - he'll probably be my new Primary Care Physician. Even though he was running late when the appointment started I felt he spent a while to get to know my and my story, which goes a long way with me. Beyond that, he didn't actually offer any new advice that varies from what I've already heard. Basically his theory is: something happened back in August, there is blood pooling in the leg as a result, it is not leaving as fast as I'd like, it probably doesn't hurt to play volleyball when I'm pain free. There is a possibility that there is a clot in there, but, it is not very likely since this has been going on for a while now with no major problems.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Calf Part 7

I wasn't planning on writing another Calf Update post - or if I did write one it was just going to say something like "I'm fine". Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Since my last update things had been improving significantly. I started playing once a week and building from there to 3-4 times / week. I still had some swelling after playing, but it was minimal and responded to icing, with no pain.

However, on approximately Christmas Day I woke up with a new pain in my calf. This is like the original pain, in that I first noticed it in the morning and it did not appear to be related to actually playing volleyball. This time the pain was approximately grape sized and located near the surface. At times it was so tender that I walked with a limp. I did play a few beach games in Florida on 12/27.

Next week we were visiting my parents in New York when the pain "migrated" to the inside of the upper ankle. Again, the pain was at its worst in the morning. It got quite painful and very swollen, to the point that it was definitely painful to walk. My Mom, a Physical Therapist, gave me a theraputic massage and it really helped... the swelling was way down, and the pain somewhat reduced.

As I write this I have pulled myself from all volleyball until January 17th, when we leave for our 9 day sand volleyball vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico. I am, obviously, really hoping that I will be able to participate in that.

Amy is quite concerned about my recent flare-up and I can't say I disagree. She has been reading up everything she can, and she is most worried about clots and other vein problems. I had an ultrasound and MRI back in August... and the diagnosis was a calf muscle tear. I can't say I ever really agreed with that diagnosis, but the Physical Therapy I went to for it really did make the leg feel better.

Anyway, long story short - what should I do now? Visit a new Primary Care Physician? Back to my Ortho? See a vascular specialist? Any advice is most welcome.

Friday, January 2, 2009

How Many 5 Year Olds


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