I was in Washington last week and saw my old orthopedist. Ahh first loves! (I lived in DC for nearly 6 years before moving to New York.) I’ve become the sort of traveler who packs her MRI next to her travel toothbrush so I was ready to go when he had a last minute opening.
After my first race (the Broad Street 10 miler) I wound up with a hairline fracture. Without much fanfare, I found a doctor who took my insurance… and then quickly fell in love with him. He actually solved my ailment immediately! He prescribed orthotics and physical therapy and eventually my ankles were back in business. After all the rigmarole, this time around I was excited to return to someone who had proven he knows what’s up.
During our special time together – I mean the appointment – he spent a ton of time looking at my MRI. More time than either of the other doctors. So much time that I said “uhhh I am going to be late for work.” He said my ATF ligament was thick and swollen, which is what happens before it tears. This is actually the most common sports injury there is.
The doctor asked me to walk, to jump, and to hop. I do not know how to jump or hop. I mean, l know how, sorta. I can get off the ground, but I don’t do it properly. I don’t bend my knees. The doctor demonstrated how to jump. He suggested that since I basically slam my body weight into the ground when I jump, it’s likely I do the same when I run and I need physical therapy to sort that out. So yes, I’ve a medical diagnosis to affirm that I am not graceful.
He suggested I rest it more seriously than I have been, return to physical therapy, and wear orthotics in every pair of footwear. Despite being a lanky 30 year old, I have the flat feet of an obese elderly person whose weight has been pressing down on her feet for years, flattening them (as per a medical professional). A sneaker store employee told me he didn’t think my feet were flat and I thought, ‘well maybe they’ve changed!’ and stupidly stopped wearing supportive shoes and orthotics. Turns out your feet don’t change and I should never have stopped wearing orthotics and high support sneakers. Likely my injuries never would have happened if I was better supported. Cool.
I’m also going to get another cortisone shot this time guided by ultra sound. The doctor who administered it thinks he didn’t hit my joint. Fun things!
I think the major difference in the type of care I received in DC versus NYC is owed to the nature of the doctors I sought out. This is my fault. In Washington I saw a sports medicine doctor. This doctor is not a surgeon and he doesn’t hyper-specialize in one part of the body.
In New York I saw ankle surgeons. I once asked about a hip issue and was offered a referral. I think the DC doctor’s more well-rounded approach allowed him to seek more helpful treatments like “orthotics” instead if “nothing” and “an unknown amount of time.”
Unless you are certain your injury is operable, I would highly recommend a sports medicine doctor over a part-of-the-body specialist.
I spent the weekend laying around, not using my ankle, which was A-OK since it was freezing out, and I was
best-friend dog sitting.
What’s new with you? How are you spending the long weekend? I’m heading back to DC for a wedding.