A good physical therapist is sort of like a regular therapist … but way better.


That was the thought that I had as I laid on the massage table, trying to ignore the agony that was being inflicted on my lower extremities, telling my PT about my pipe dream goals.

I am an injury prone runner. Always have been. This last round of injuries started sometime around July and consisted of a torn hamstring, posterior tibial tendonitis, and a problem with some tendon in my foot. I’ve seen physical therapists and podiatrists and even talked about these problems with my gynecologist (he’s a badass athlete; it makes more sense than you might think).

I was incredibly frustrated when I sent out a plea on Facebook for a recommendation for a new physical therapist. I needed a good, sports oriented PT who would fix my problems and keep me running. Within ten minutes I had a message from a trusted ultrarunner friend who gave me a recommendation for someone that would do just that. “Trust me on this one.” he said. So I did.

I love her and I hate her. During our first session she put me through some of the worst pain I have felt in my life, and I say this as someone who had a baby not a year and a half ago. The deep tissue massage to break up the scar tissue had me sweating and and swearing clinging to the table in agony. I groaned and cursed and fought the urge to curl up into the fetal position and cry. The people in the waiting room chuckled when they heard what was going on which I didn’t feel too badly about because I knew their time was coming.

And that was all before the needles came out.

My second appointment, two weeks later, was a little better. I managed to hold a conversation during this torture session. I didn’t swear quite as much. While she clawed into my muscles and stuck needles into my tendons we talked about my running goals and fears and the things that hold me back. I told her that I love long runs, but that I’m painfully slow. She gave me tips for improving but also said that that was really ok. I mentioned my someday-way-far-off dream of finishing a certain really hard race and she encouraged me to go for it, poor biomechanics and vomit phobia be damned.

I limped out of there feeling both drained and energized. The places where she dug into my legs ached but my determination was alive and well. There is lots of hope for my body. There may even be a little hope for my head. 

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