After 28 months, and about 150 sessions, I finished up with physio today on my elbow. I walked out of Athlete’s Care in Liberty Village without booking my next appointment. That hadn’t happened in forever.
It was, as my wife Ginny noted on Twitter, a little bittersweet. Things are not back to normal, and things are also not going to get any better. Over the last few sessions it’s been clear that the physio wasn’t doing anything to make additional progress. The range of motion was always about 125º of flexion coming in each week and extension wasn’t moving either.
In short, it is what it is.
That’s bittersweet because it means accepting what I’ve got now as a result of the accident. But it also means that the period of recovery is over. I’m done with it.
Good therapists are good
I was lucky to have two great physiotherapists that helped me out. James Braithwaite took on the challenge right after the accident and was there to push me through some pretty dark times. Sometimes it felt like he was dishing out torture, but it was what had to be done to move things along.
I showed up with pretty much a locked elbow and he was able to get things to a point where it was tolerable from day-to-day. I appreciated his advice, skill and his willingness to help with both the physical and mental challenge of recovering from a traumatic injury.
James moved on to his own practice and I moved over to work with Adriana Biernat for the second phase of my recovery. She started by helping me strengthen and prepare for a big followup surgery in March to remove the plates and screws. Coming out of the surgery, it was twice a week for a while to maintain the new range of motion gained under the knife.
Over the months and months of treatment, Adriana took the time to understand how my arm reacted to the therapy and she adapted her techniques to extract the greatest range of motion possible. She recognized when we pushed a bit too hard, but she also made sure that we were taking things right up to that line to get the best outcome possible.
What I learned
I learned a lot about myself through the whole process. I learned how to handle pain and how my body reacts to different levels of therapy. I learned that acupuncture works. I’ve become so comfortable with getting those needles placed all over my arms and legs that I’ll continue to do acupuncture for my running therapy when required.
While I won’t be back for my elbow anytime soon (although I’ll probably let Adriana give it a stretch and massage now and then still), I will be there when the stress of marathon training causes those nagging leg issues. I’m a believer in physiotherapy and the role that a good physiotherapist can play in staying healthy and active.