Sunday, November 29, 2009

You Should Have Been a Physical Therapist

This blog has been relatively quiet of late, and the reason is that yours truly has been distracted by a handful of pokings and proddings by our nation's medical personnel. After having regrouped from a disconcerting rotator cuff tear over the summer, for which I visited a physical therapist, this latest series of mishaps has been disheartening.

Most importantly, I have had an occasionally severe pain in my left ankle. From the start, I thought I knew what caused it. About a decade ago I was playing a fair amount of doubles squash, and had become pretty good at it (if I say so myself....). In one fairly intense match, I, a right-waller, found it necessary to run at full gallop up to the front left wall to snare a nice drop. I got it, but on pushing off with my left ankle felt an unmistakable twinge. Later I went to an orthopedist who, upon fondling my foot for awhile, declared that I probably had a subchondral defect, a gouging out of cartilage, but that in the short term it would be okay. The long-term story was not so good, however: the bit of floating cartilage would gradually accrete material and become larger, rendering surgery likely, oh, in about a decade or so.

Well, right on cue my ankle had started bugging me to the point where it was obvious I had to deal with the problem. The podiatrist who saw me found additionally that the synovial fluid in the talar ankle joint was also seeping into the porous bone, causing additional pain. So it's under the knife I go, hopefully before Christmas. Then a week on crutches, a week in a soft cast, and then physical therapy. I'm hoping to get back on the court late in January.

But that wasn't all. Because my gait was alterred from the bad ankle, I have also developed chondromalacia patellae in my right knee, which is caused by a defect in the tracking of the patella as it glides atop the knee. Although I have no arthritis in either knee, thankfully, there is a chance that the ailment has been aggravated by arthritis under the kneecap. This problem also resolves with physical therapy, and should also be corrected by the time my left ankle is back in fighting trim.

I hope! In the meantime, my squash game will be more a theoretical construct than a diversion based on reality. The big winner is my PT; he loves this!

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