I’m nobody special. I’m not an athlete or exercise fanatic. I’m just an ordinary person who happens to be a teacher. My story started last spring when I got ambitious and started running. I joined First Strides to start moving. It was exercise and that’s supposed to make you healthier and fit. I figured it would help with the stiffness and soreness I felt every morning when I woke up. And guess what—it did. I learned to stretch and run, though not quickly. I even managed to finish two 5K races, lowering my time by over 5 minutes from the first race to the second. This was a significant improvement; the reality, however, was I was in pain and did not know why.
I called up Coordinated Health. Coordinated Health is a great place. It’s a place where you are put in the hands of a team who works together to get you better. My first point of contact was with the foot and ankle center. I saw Dr. Brigido and he told me I had Achilles tendonitis and heel spurs. The good news is he knew how to fix it. He is not surgery happy and is always happy to discuss options. Physical therapy with Katie was non-invasive and improved my strength and flexibility. Unfortunately, it did not eliminate the pain and tightness I still felt.
Dr. Brigido ended up doing endoscopic gastroc release and my left leg felt much better. After surgery came more physical therapy, this time with Brett and Kiira. They were incredibly patient teaching me new “tricks” to improve my strength and increase flexibility. I even got lessons on muscles and tendons in the legs. I found out where the quads and calves are. Who would know there is a right and wrong way to walk? Apparently the right way is heel, ball, toe. Then, when your face looks very intense, (I suspect Brett did this for fun) I had to walk and count backward from 100 by threes. Now, on a good day I don’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Often I have bad math days, but the point was for me to walk without thinking about it. And the neat part,--it worked and entertained anyone who listened to my version of subtraction. Brett and Kiira were incredibly patient. Every time I got comfortable doing an exercise they increased the difficulty.
The best part of physical therapy was when Kiira or Brett stretched me. For some odd reason Brett said he was going to torture me, but the reality is it felt awesome! Kiira stretches patients very well and she gets the prize for best stretcher overall. I credit them for teaching me how to walk down steps correctly again. They listened to me as I told them how I felt and adjusted the physical therapy program accordingly.
Sadly as my left leg got stronger the right leg got tighter. It was the Achilles tendon, one of the biggest tendons in the body. I did not get relief so I had a second surgery last week. This surgery has improved the quality of my life since it relieved the tightness that woke me up every night for over a month. To imagine how I felt, think of a guitar string which is stretched very tightly and looks like it’s going to pop. I am only 6 days out of my surgery and I feel like a new woman. I know I have physical therapy ahead of me. But I take comfort in the fact that I know Coordinated Health will be able to assist me. Most importantly, they will listen to me and help me to resume a normal, productive, and happy life.