I’ve been in PT for about four weeks now trying to address the issues with my knees. It’s going well, but it’s painful. I’m working to strengthen my hips, legs and knees in order to help my knees maintain their alignment and also alleviate the pain associated with the loss of cushioning and cartilage.
My first active session with my therapist was both embarrassing and torturous.
First, she put me through a series of hip and leg exercises that were expected and not all that different from working out with my trainer. It felt like a workout, but that was good. Afterwards, she “stretched me out.” This is where it gets embarrassing.
She had me lay diagonally across a therapy table, and positioned my legs so that one foot was braced on her shoulder, and the other was bent as far back as possible under the table. She leaned into me so that my knee was almost touching my shoulder, and she used her body to stretch my other leg back under the table, stretching my quad and hip flexor. Outside the context of a PT room, this would have looked like some serious girl on girl action. I was so embarrassed by the positioning, and we were not alone in the room, I had to stare at the ceiling. I could not look her in the face while we were in this ridiculous position.
Then, with my leg jacked up to my shoulder, she digs her forearm into the top of my other thigh and says, “Your hips are so tight. Your quads and hamstrings are strong, but your hips are really tight and weak.”
Gasping through the pain of her shredding my muscle with her tiny arms of steel, I said, “No way! My hips aren’t weak! My hips are bangin’!”
Just kidding. I didn’t say that, and my hips aren’t bangin’. Well, at least not in that way. My hips are awesome in a good-Midwestern-stock-breeding-hips sort of way. I actually had a doctor tell me once that I was “good Midwestern stock.” I probably should have been offended by that at the time.
Anyway, this freaky, painful stretching escapade lasted for several minutes and then she moved me into the same position with the other leg. At one point I had to put my arm over my face and turn away because I refused to allow anyone in that room to see how much pain I was in. I kept chanting to myself quietly, “Don’t cry in public, don’t cry in public. Only candy-ass, wussie girls cry in public!” The next morning as I was getting dressed, I noticed multiple bruises all over the tops of both my thighs.
This physical torture has continued for four long weeks. The stretching has gotten better and less painful, although there is one dude also receiving therapy who seems to enjoy watching my stretching sessions with more enthusiasm than I’m comfortable with. I’m pretty certain he’s a pervert and probably getting off on the visual. I secretly hope the therapist gives him an extra dig with her elbow when she’s manipulating his muscles.
I wish I could say that I’ve noticed a significant difference between the knee shots and therapy, but so far, it’s mostly the same. Pain, grinding, and more pain. My therapist admitted to me that some people don’t experience any pain relief from the shots. That’s disheartening considering that I only need one more shot to complete the course of my treatment.
So yeah, physical therapy is not for sissies.