Monday, September 12, 2011


How much trust do you put in doctors or others in the medical field? 

I constantly wonder how much of my trust I should give to my doctors.  It doesn't really matter what kind of doctor they are, although the ones I typically see are my endocrinologist and, unfortunately, sports medicine doctor.  They talk to you for a few minutes and are somehow certified to give you a diagnosis or tell you exactly what adjustments to make so everything will be better.  I want to ask them if they know the old saying about walking a mile in my shoes before judging me (or, more appropriately, diagnosing me)?

Contrary to what you might be thinking from the above paragraph, I actually trust my sports medicine and endocrinologist a lot. 

Recently, my right leg has been hurting.  It is not every run, but it was definitely become more frequent.  It hurt during speed work and during a few races and felt okay on most easy runs.  Although, the pain was starting to occur when I was not running.  Therefore, given the fact that the Chicago Marathon is less than a month away, I made a safe decision and called up my sport medicine doctor and saw him today.

My diagnosis?  Strained calf muscle. 

The first words out of my mouth were: "I am so glad it is that and not something else!" 
Translation: "I think I can run with a strained muscle!  Because I'll do anything in order to run this marathon."

I think he actually laughed out loud after I said that. 

He told me that I could keep on running but I should really work hard to improve my relatively non-existent stretching routine.  And....go to physical therapy.  Nooo (cue baby crying)!!!!  Really, I don't want to go back there. 

If you remember, I had to go to physical therapy last fall for a weird knee injury in my left leg.  It eventually healed.

I was going to do some biking at my gym tonight and decided to stop by the physical therapy place because it is on the way to the gym. 

Long story short:

I came out of the physical therapy office rather mad.  It takes a lot to get me mad.

I was lucky enough to get an "initial consult" today when I went in, only to talk to the same PT that I had last year.  He felt my legs to see where the problem area was and then made me walk back-and-forth in a variety of ways. 

Then, he proceeded to tell me the following:

1.  I probably don't do enough cross training
2.  I don't lift weights enough
3.  My form is most likely wrong given how many injuries I've had in the past 2+ years

Here is what I think about that:

1.  I feel like I cross train a lot.  I told him that I do a good job of cross-training and keep a detailed spreadsheet where I record everything.  I would be happy to bring it in for him next time.  Translation: eat your words.

2.  I lift weights enough for me.  I will never lift weights 15 times a month (every other day) because I don't like it that much.  I know it is good to do, so I do it.  I think lifting weights 6, 7, or 8 times a month is enough for me.

3.  I have had 4 injuries in the past year.  They were:
           a. Stress Fracture, right leg, May 2009.  The cause was the fact that I didn't take rest days.  This would be called an overuse injury, not one dealing with running form.
           b.  Knee injury, left leg, Fall 2010.  This could have been a form injury, so I'll give him that.
          c.  Achilles tendinitis, Winter 2011.  This was due to the fact that I increased both speed work and mileage at the same time, and too quickly, not from running form. 
          d.  Calf strain, right leg.  I have not done enough research on it, but plan to start soon to figure out the cause.  Perhaps it is poor running form...or maybe it is something dealing with speed work, since that it is when it hurts the most.  Not sure yet.

Conclusion: I trust doctors, but not my current physical therapist. 

I know my calf is in fairly bad shape.  I know I need to get better.  I want to run a great marathon and think I have the potential to run well.  If that means tolerating physical therapy, I'll do so.  Right now I just don't believe a thing that he says.  I would type some other words that my friend Scully might write, but I will refrain.


  1. Don't "tolerate" PT. Ask for another PT!!! I totally did it at the sports clinic I went to. I wouldn't waste time with that guy.

    Also, last year at the same clinic, after continuing to have strange symptoms and getting a half-right diagnosis from the "leg doctor", I made an appointment with the "foot doctor" at the same clinic who gave me the right diagnosis.

    Heal up fast. You've got a marathon to run! :)

  2. I find I have to take doctor's diagnosis(ees)? with a grain of salt. I also find that for some things you can get more info off the net than you can from your doctors these days.
    I don't love stretching, I rarely do it and fear it's going to bit me in the ass one day. Also, I pretty much never lift weights mostly because I only go to the gym in the winter time.
    Happy healing, it sounds like it's nothing serious.