Friday, May 13, 2011

The Magic Wand Cures Hamstring/Calf Injury

Recovery from Boston was going well and then over a week ago, at track, the tightness in the calf came back. I iced, took ibuprofen and tried running two days later only to walk home 3 miles.   5 days later I tried running again and less than half a mile later the calf strain was worse and climbing up into the hamstring. Back in February when the hamstring injury first reared its ugly little head in a race, the pulling started in the upper calf, climbed to the back of the knee and into the hamstring.  Worried (standard fare for me) but not derailed, I did some research on the hamstring and wrote a blog post called Ham on a String.

Wanting to the nip the issue quickly, I went to the PT back in February and had the ASTYM treatment done and was running again soon but not without another hamstring fit and then an IT band issue on the other leg. Basically since February, I have been running/resting due to some sort of “injury”.  Believing injuries are due from weak muscles,  I have been diligent about doing single leg bridges, monster walks and clam shell trying to keep the hip/glute muscles strong. 

Although the PT I went to used ASTYM as part of the treatment, he never mentioned anything that would cause the issue to begin with.  As is true with many PT's, he treated the symptom and not the underlying problem.   I felt like I knew more about the exercises than his assistant, who would randomly pull a number out of the sky and make it known that it was random, like I could choose to wear a blue shirt or green shirt but it really doesn’t matter. 

I’m already a DNS for a half marathon this weekend and while I'm bummed, I'm looking forward to two Ragnar races next week.  I have teams that are counting on me to be there and healthy. 

Since resting 5 days didn’t improve my injury, I have a new plan.  My recovery plan is as follows:
  • Go to a good PT. I’m fortunate to have medical insurance and it covers PT.  After calling my primary care physician to get a new referral, I made an appointment with a different PT, one recommended by Coach Dean.  I didn’t want to go to Coach Dean’s PT before because it wasn’t convenvient to work or home.  Basically I was lazy.  I’m now more serious and am looking forward to working with a PT, who is also a runner and addresses the issue and not the symptom.    This PT also has an AlterG treadmill which is a treadmill on steroids and will allow me to run with less body weight.
  • I  borrowed Coach Dean’s EMS device which  I call the zappy thing.  A EMS unit (electro muscular stimulation) zaps the muscle group by sending an electrical impulse through sticky pads that stick on the skin.  There is a positive/negative connection and you place the sticky pads on the muscles and can relax the muscles or with other settings increase  muscle strength.  I can work on building my quad muscles, which I believe may be weak and I can use the  ESM to massage and relax the hamstring and calf.
  • Strength exercises. Whatever the PT gives me I will do. In the meantime, I am going to do daily
    • Clamshell - 3 sets of 15 with resistence band holding at top for three seconds
    • Monster walk 3 laps through the kitchen
    • Walking lunges pulling myself up through the front leg, rather than pushing off the back leg
    • Single leg bridges
  • I'm keeping active by doing the elliptical right now (just so I can offset some of the calories AKA candy, cake and cookies I'm inhaling).  I'm pretty sure the new PT will do ASTYM and the great thing about ASTYM is you’re supposed to continue with activity, including running. If after going to the PT she tells me differently, then I’ll do that. Luckily my hamstring and calf strain isn’t major and two days later I can only feel reminants of it but I don't know if I can run. I’ll report on my progress and what the PT says.
  • I’ll continue with IBU profin and have requested a prescription for Methylprednisolone, in case I need it for Ragnar.  I have used this adrenocortical steroid for its anti-inflammatory benefits before with great success.  The relief however is temporary and the injury itself, what is causing the inflammation must still be addressed.

And the last part of my plan is my secret weapon, a gift from Coach Dean, a pink magic wand.  As a magic wand, it must not be used willy nilly but with intention and a few magic words…
Happy Running!


Anonymous said...

Oh this is a great one. I told you The Wand would work. You're doing the right things!!!

Black Knight said...

Please tell me the few magic words!!!!
Your plan sounds good.
Good luck.