Posts Tagged "physical therapy"

Questions About Fitbit

Dear Kid,

I am now officially a member of the Fitbit world.

Since I am new to Fitbit-ness, I am still trying to figure out how it works.

And I have a LOT of questions.


How does the Fitbit calculate calories burned when snuggling the Puppy? It can take a lot of energy to absorb all that love. Does Fitbit know that?

Can a Fitbit account for the difference between calories (and by “calories” I mean “chocolate”) eaten in annoyance versus calories eaten for pleasure versus calories eaten for sustenance? Clearly, they are not all the same, but I don’t know if Fitbit is tracking my consumption correctly.

Does my Fitbit measure running on a treadmill, running on the track, and running late at the same rate?

Is there a different formula for walking in sneakers versus walking in 4 inch stilettos? There should be. Especially if the stilettos have scrunchy toes.

How does a Fitbit know if I’m biking? My arms aren’t moving (usually) and my feet are just going round and round. Do I still get credit?

How does the Fitbit measure the impact of the crazy, sadistic physical therapy exercises? (And by “exercises” I mean whatever gadget they choose to use to shove my leg muscles around.) I would assume there is a lot of energy being burned there, what with all the screaming (mine) and yelling (also mine).

What about pushups or leg curls? How do I tell my Fitbit to count that kind of exercise?

Or gum chewing? How does the Fitbit account for the incredible number of calories I burn chomping on Trident?

And thinking. Thinking burns a lot of, well, a lot of something. For instance, how does the Fitbit tell the difference between sitting and watching bad reality TV (no effort) and sitting and contemplating bad reality TV (a great deal of effort)?

These are important questions. I hope someone has correspondingly important answers.

Love, Mom

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Distraction, Squirrels, and PT Turns Dominatrix

Dear Kid,

I was distracted at physical therapy.

Not the “Squirrel!” kind of distracted.

The “let’s give your bones some room to breathe” kind of distracted. The “your legs are pretending to be two entirely different lengths and we intend to address this” kind of distracted.

I know you’re learning about this in school which is why I’m bothering to tell you about it.

Because The Reality has nothing whatsoever to do with the theory you’re being taught.

Allow me to explain.

There I was, lying on my back, trying to overcome a diluted caffeine system (what with it being first thing in the morning), ligaments and tendons grumbling at being forced to move (everyone knows that respectable ligaments don’t move before 10am), when

You're sitting there, minding your own business, when all of a sudden the Universe says WHAP!


In the mere blink of an eye, the merest nano-fraction of time, my mild-mannered khaki-clad physical therapist transmuted into full-on dominatrix mode. Black leather, spiked heels, domineering grin. The only thing missing was a whip. Oh, wait. Patient leg, whip, pretty much the same thing. And WHAP! my leg cracked through the air levitating my body a good six inches off the table. Then, PHWAM! I slammed back down (dang gravity).

“Wha? …”

“Mmm-hmmm” smiled the PT, all traces of sadism successfully hidden away.

“What?” When you’ve got a good line, stick with it.

“Well, if I’d told you what I was going to do, you’d have tensed.”

Um, yeah, and with good reason apparently.

The physical therapist molested my ankles. “Much better.”

Clearly, we do not share a definition of “better”.

Love, Mom

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Seriously That HURTS!

Dear Kid,

Stop! That hurts! DearKidLoveMom.comIt’s going to be one of those days.

There is the standard stuff of the day. Rush hour traffic, crazy clients, telemarketers—all the stuff that makes life so enjoyable.

And then there’s Physical Therapy.

The place where they do as much as possible to inflict pain in the name of eliminating pain.

So it’s a place I always look forward to going.

Today it’s going to be even better than usual because in addition to KT Tape – yes, you guessed it – we’re doing dry needling again.

Dry needling is a technique that’s supposed to help your muscles relax.

I looked it up. The first article explained that dry needling is derived from acupuncture. The second article insisted that dry needling is in no way, shape, or form related to acupuncture. I gave up researching.

The way dry needling works is the therapist finds the tightest, most painful part of the muscle and jabs it with a fine filament needle (aka acupuncture needle). The muscle objects. The therapist wiggles the needle around and jabs it into the muscle a few times. The muscle objects more. The theory is that the muscle will twitch (contract) and then release (relax).

Did I mention the muscle objects?

It’s nothing compared to how the nerves react.

Nerve 1: Hey, someone is digging their thumbs in here
Nerve 2: Yeah, I noticed that too
Nerve 1: Well, at least they’re being reasonably gentle
Nerve 2: Yeah, I thought so too—WHAT IN THE SAM HILL IS GOING ON!!!

Then the nerves start screaming, yelling, trying to dodge the needle, and generally causing a ruckus.

Do you know how many nerves there are in the human body? And did you know that one acupuncture needle can hit 90% of them at once? And did you know that they don’t like being poked?

They make it pretty clear.

Me: Ow. Ow. OW!!
Phil-The-Owner: Should we assume it hurts?
Physical Therapist: She did accuse us of being sadists
Me: OW!
Physical Therapist: And it’s working
Me: Fine. But OW!

Such joy.

Love, Mom

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Kinesio Tape, Mom Ankles, and Getting the Martyr Vote

Dear Kid,

I’m wearing KT tape. I’d take a photo and include it, but the tape the PTs used is just about the same color as my skin so all you’d see is a close up of mom-ankle. I thought you’d be pleased that I passed on the photo op.

The reason for this application of KT tape is that the Physical Therapists (you remember them) are hoping it will help encourage the bones in my foot (you remember them) to stay where they are supposed to stay rather than where they seem to want to migrate to. This is all somewhat incidental as the PTs (there’s a gaggle of them) have now concluded that the Big Issue is the tightness in the side of shin and the lack of cooperation from the nerves near my knee. Which led to dry needling (another topic for another day).

As you may or may not know, KT Tape was named by the Department of Redundancy Department Department because KT stands for Kinesio tape.

It was invented by a Japanese chiropractor named Kenzo Kase all the way back in the 1970s which just goes to show that some ideas leap to success (Apple watch) and others take 40 or so years to become popular.

From the company’s website:

KT TAPE is applied along muscles, ligaments, and tendons (soft tissue) to provide a lightweight, external support that helps you remain active while recovering from injuries. KT Tape creates neuromuscular feedback (called proprioception) that inhibits (relaxes) or facilitates stronger firing of muscles and tendons. This feedback creates support elements without the bulk and restriction commonly associated with wraps and heavy bracing. KT Tape gives you confidence to perform your best.

Translation: Better than a Band-Aid and mom kiss for boo-boo.

The reason KT tape works is unclear. And by “unclear” I mean there is more than one authority in the world who poo-poos KT tape’s efficacy entirely. There are more athletes and trainers who are busy ignoring the skeptics because DANG they look good in KT tape, and oh-by-the-way it works.

In my particular case, we are not going for the “confidence to perform at my best.” We are going for “All You Bones and Stuff, Get Back Where You Belong!”

This is not a medically recognized diagnosis.

Then again, more than one PT thinks I’m an alien based on the way my foot responds to treatment.

For the record, skin-colored KT tape is really not a good idea. You completely lose out on the sympathy vote (“Oh, my goodness! What happened to you?!”) and the martyr vote (“I can’t believe she’s able to stand and lecture for that long with her leg like that. Her ankle must be killing her!”). With skin-colored tape, pretty much no one even notices your heroic actions.

On the other hand, if you’re hoping to wear interesting shoes without incurring commentary from everyone and their brother (“Should you really be wearing those?”), flesh tone is the way to go.

Love, Mom

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Winning Stump the Physical Therapist Is Not Great

Dear Kid and Cousin of Kid,

Guess who played Stump the Physical Therapist yesterday–and won?

If you guessed your mother/aunt (moi) you are correct.

Allow me to back up and explain.

At some point in the past (around the time the spring college semester ended if I recall correctly), my ankle began to hurt.

This is what a happy ankle looks like. Obviously it doesn't belong to me. DearKidLoveMom.comBeing an astute type person, I said, “My ankle hurts.”

Everyone ignored me, except the puppy who asked for a treat.

I iced. I elevated. I whined. Still it hurt.

So I did the only reasonable thing I could think of. I ignored it. This is an old tradition dating back to the mid-5th grade period of my life (think prehistoric), when I complained about my wrist hurting and was told to take two aspirin (we took aspirin in those days) and help carry coats for Grandma and Grandpa’s cocktail party.

Of course, I ended up in a cast then, so maybe it’s not the best tradition we have.

This time the ignoring worked fine. If by “fine” you mean “not at all.”

So I made an appointment with the ankle doctor and paid a visit last week.

Do you know how much fun it is to have someone push and prod a part of you that hurts? I’m pretty sure it involves a level of sadism on the part of the prodder. A high level.

After poking and prodding and x-raying and squeezing and poking some more we established a diagnosis. Nothing broken, Achilles tendon too tight caused by tight calf muscles. Go to physical therapy.

Now, this didn’t exactly make sense to me because while I’m not the most flexible person on the planet, I am certainly not in the bottom 10%. But the ankle doctor seemed convinced that all the evils in the world (including global warming) are caused by my too tight calves.

I made an appointment to see the physical therapists because the pain was making it hard to stand and life requires that I stand every now and then.

Yesterday I went to see the PT.

“Hi, I’m Sarah the Student,” said Sarah the Student. “That’s Kyle the Supervisor.” Here’s the thing about students. They are very earnest. They Care Deeply. They are thorough. And they are slow.

They also repeat a lot of their work to be sure they are getting it right.

Translation: OWWW!

After half an hour of poking and prodding and measuring and pushing and whatnot, StS said, “Kyle, I’m stumped.”

They launched into a conversation about hypo- and hyper- and pronation and supanation and meditation and orientation and inspiration and for all I know the League of Nations. Kyle did his own pushing and prodding and whatnot and at the end declared, “Well, you’ve stumped us. I’m going to get a consult.”

Three points to me. Negative one billion points for my ankle.

I explained that the ankle doctor was pretty sure that fixing my too-tight calves would cure all problems on the planet include the Greek debt crisis. The physical therapists were all pretty convinced that my calves are normal and my Achilles tendon had nothing to do with the issue.

Fast forward to the consult with PhilTheOwner (all one word–I asked).

There was a lot of conversation about my ankle (I know that because people kept staring at my ankle while they talked). The conversation included a few words I understood like “calluses” and “did you check” and then my personal favorites: We’ll have to recreate the pain.

Do What? I’m good. I brought the pain with me. No need to go looking for more. Are you people insane???

“You will notice,” said Kyle, “that I’m standing far enough away so that you can’t punch me.”

This is not a comforting thing for your PT to say.

This is the bone that seems to want to travel to other parts of the world rather than remaining happily in place in my foot. DearKidLoveMom.comIt turns out that there are a boatload of bones in the foot. One of the bones in my foot is rebellious and was trying to escape. Instead of being in line, it was “up and out.” Kyle the physical therapist thought it would be a fun idea to put the bone “down and in”–back where it belonged.

I suppose it was fun. If you have an unusual definition of the word “fun.”

Now we wait and see whether the bone stays put or whether it regains its wandering tendencies. And we wait to see if the repositioning takes care of the pain or if the pain decides to stick around because it loves me.

And we hope never to play Stump the PT again.

Love, Mom

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