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Injury at 40- My Road to recovery

Written by Cheryl Schwieters
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Cheryl SchwietersAt age 40 I was working out, ironically performing exercises for a dynamic warmup for runners (because we should all take time to stretch, not just at age 40) when I heard and felt a very loud “POP”. Almost immediately I went down to the floor with some pretty incredible pain in my right foot. Now, I have been through multiple broken bones, two cesarean sections, and a torn and reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament. By far this was the worst pain I had ever felt. Most of you may be thinking, ruptured achilles tendon, right? Nope, torn plantar fascia - eeww. The dreaded words, plantar fascia. If you are a runner or involved in any activity where you have incurred injury to this area, I am sure you will agree, recovery is quite a feat. Fasciitis can last months and tearing it is not much better. There is not an easy way to fix the fascia as it is a thin sheath of connective tissue designed to assist tissue giving it more stability and strength.


RS2666 shutterstock 54294007My resulting visit to the doctor confirmed my diagnosis and left me with a series of trial and error treatments, again, due to the fact there is no real way to fix it by reattachment. Therefore, I began by placing myself into a walking boot as putting any sort of pressure on my foot unassisted was excruciating. For the next few weeks I worked on pain management with use of supplements, an anti-inflammatory diet, topical analgesics, tissue work to keep my foot and calf pliable, the utilization of orthotics and several options for footwear that kept my heel as pain free as possible. Additionally I worked to build up strength in the intrinsic musculature of my foot when ready and kept my activity level up as much as possible to keep my core stabilizers working and my cardiovascular endurance. I was not able to fully weight bear on my foot with a shoe only for almost 6 weeks. I utilized the knowledge and skills of my fellow clinicians to assist in various taping techniques, tissue treatment and stretching, as well as my own to assist in returning to proper gait mechanics and keeping my core strength and endurance up. Ultimately I returned to higher level activity, which for me was running, biking, swimming, and playing with my kids by month four. My reentry was very slow and tedious, however. I began with weight bearing balance and strengthening activities both double and single legged and progressed into more aggressive patterning in multi direction and finally heavy loading for running.

This personal experience led me to a few conclusions:

1. Navigating the healthcare system and finding clear cut answers can be difficult - even for a healthcare professional.

2. The use of the internet can be helpful, but also dangerous!

3. Healing from an injury that seems relatively straightforward is not always the case.

4. The use of multiple techniques may be warranted to assist in the healing process.

5. Physical therapy was definitely needed to assist in my healing process even though it was not initially recommended.

Many of you may be struggling with an injury and not sure what to do. Consulting with a physical therapist is a great place to start. Simply calling to get a no charge consultation can lead you in the right direction of further actual treatment or guidance into another avenue of help. You can contact our clinic by calling 616-954-0950 or visiting our contact us page at http://pt-cpr.com/connect/contact-us

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