Thursday, July 7, 2022

Physical Therapy After-action-report

My physical therapist is a "traveling" PT. Last year he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, all 2650 miles of it. Being a traveling medical professional is not a bad gig if you have hobbies like that. Work eight months and then hike.

His longest day was 34 miles. That is even more impressive than it sounds because he was also traversing elevation differences.

He seemed to appreciate that I had been doing what I could do and exercising those muscles that did not stress my left tibia. He seemed to think that helped circulation and helped with the healing in those places that I could not exercise.

He gave me one set of stamina exercises, one set of balance exercises and one set of flexibility exercises to do daily until the next appointment.

He wants me to walk 30 minutes a day without the cane and focus on gait.

He wants me to balance on my injured leg for 30 seconds, three times. If I cannot make it to 30 seconds, balance as long as I can.

He wants me to do a stretch similar to the one shown above using a step and handrails. He wants me to do 45-Mississippi duration and three reps.

It is already clear to me that doing the balance exercises need to happen before the 30 minutes of walking.

I also learned during my walk that arm motion and a slightly longer stride helped a lot in getting my weight to roll off of my big-toe rather than off the outside of my foot. Lifting my eyes up so I was looking at the horizon and throwing my shoulders back also helped. Funny how everything works together and bastardizing one part of it throws the system out-of-kilter.

Over-doing it

Since I know I have a tendency to believe that anything worth doing is worth over-doing, I asked him if I could EXCEED the amounts he listed.

His response was I could exceed those times or reps BUT NOT ON THE DAY BEFORE AN APPOINTMENT. His reasoning is that he needs to document progress and the measurements will be polluted if I come in lamed-up from overdoing it the day before.

Drill-instructor Mrs ERJ took notes during the entire session. She also suggested that we purchase a log-book. Memory is a fallible and fickle thing. It is harder to fool yourself when you have to write things down.


He surprised me when he proposed a goal of my walking 10 miles after ten weeks of therapy. He has a lot of faith in me.


  1. Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, physical therapist, or medical personnel and this comment is not medical advice in whole or in part.

    Exercising the non-injured side of the body will mirror benefits to the injured side to an extent. It's called "muscle mirroring" and bodybuilders have employed this technique for decades but mainstream medicine is finally catching up.

    A good search term to start with is "injuries and muscle mirroring". Your physical therapist is correct in that exercising what you can will improve circulation and expedite recovery; as long as you don't irritate the injury. A log book is essential to any kind of physical training and charting progress in excel is even better; your physical therapist is probably charting it as well.

    Make sure you are eating and resting to fuel recovery too, the physical stimulus is only part of the equation.

    Sending good vibes.
    - Arc

  2. Or he's got you figured out already... LOL

  3. (does math) So, a mile a week, then?

    1. More like a 35% increase each week. 1.35^10 = 20X, going from half-a-mile a day to ten

    2. Hmmmm, interesting. I had heard Mr. Wilder took a common core math class...

    3. I think Mr. Wilder was commenting on the lack of precision in my writing. It should have been "ten miles in a single day" whereas he was pointing out it could easily be misinterpretted as "ten miles total over the entire ten-week time horizon"

      I happen to know that Mr Wilder is very good at fractions and making bad puns.


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