Friday, June 8, 2012

Week 12 report: Physical Therapy isn't a doodle.

After four weeks of PT I can report a little progress.  At the first session my therapist measured my grip strength; undamaged, semi-dominant left hand 90#; recovering, used to be dominant right hand 15#).  Initial wrist extension was left wrist: 55 degrees, right wrist: 10 degrees.  She measured other angles of articulation (flexion, supination, pronation) but I can't recall the numbers. 

I asked her if she thought I'd be able to get back most of the range of motion compared to my left hand.  She thought about this for a minute and replied "Well, if you were actually flexible and had say 80 or 90 degrees of extension before injury you'd probably not get it all back, but since you're about as flexible as a freakin' brick 55 degrees shouldn't be out of the range of possibility."  So there you have it--a silver lining!

I see her once a week and she gives me new torture routines exercises and keeps track of grip strength and range of motion.  Today I'm up to 35# of grip strength and 35 degrees on the extension measurement.  Today's measurements for supination, pronation and flexion  were 35 degrees, 65 degrees and 45 degrees, respectively. 

For those interested in brushing up on their anatomical terms of motion Wikipedia has a nice explanation here

Today she also pointed out that the swelling in my right arm has gone down enough so that I have wrinkles again--who knew wrinkles were something to look forward to?  Another silver lining! 

The new exercises for this week include "wall push-ups".  Imagine standing about a foot away from a wall, placing the palms of your hands about at head level and then leaning into and pushing away from the wall.  If that sounds easy it's because you don't have a healing but still tender broken arm!  You can make this exercise increasingly more difficult by moving your palms lower in relation to your body (for example shoulder level rather than head level; chest level rather than shoulder level etc.).  It will probably be several weeks before I can once again do regular push-ups from the floor.
I have a boat race coming up on the 16th of June.  By then I'm hoping to have a bit more grip strength or else holding on to the main sheet during long starboard legs up-wind will be iffy.  Also I'm hoping for light wind!   I'm packing the boat, we shall see.

Bowie Ice Arena will be back on line in July (they melt the ice for two months every year for maintenance)--we'll see about that as well.  Stay tuned.


  1. Glad to hear you are getting better, sorry progress is so slow.

    Also wall push ups are torture. Has she made you rotate a ball up on the wall? Also killer. I need to do more exercises, my wrist still hurts when I rotate it with resistance.

  2. Thanks. Progress is fairly good considering I'm an old goat. No, she hasn't mentioned the rotate a ball up the wall thing yet. I remember doing that one after rotator cuff surgery years ago. The first couple of days of that were hell!

  3. Hey George! Glad you're back, I was beginning to worry. When I worked in the hand injury clinic at a local hospital I used to offer my patients a tongue depressor to bite on during their therapy sessions:) If it's any consolation, one of my coaches broke her wrist while teaching a few years ago. She tripped on a bump created by some exceptionally poorly maintained ice.

    Hope you are good to go for the boat race.

    Ice is your friend these days. (and acetaminophen too)

    1. Hi Lori: Reports of my demise are premature--I just haven't had much to blog about skating-wise. I'm researching wrist guards and will post about that soon. Hot pads (and ice packs afterwards) indeed are my friends. I've got a heat pad wrapped around my right hand as I type this. After I take it off I'll be able to make a fist! (doesn't take much to amuse me these days).

  4. Ugh! Sorry to hear PT has been a bit slow going. (If it helps at all, I can relate. Misery loves company?) Hang in there, tough guy! Good luck with the boat race and just think...not too long 'til July arrives.

    1. Hi Mer: Thanks for the encouragement--I hope your ankle is also on the mend. I'll be down on the Jersey shore for a bit of RnR after the boat race and should be back on the ice around the 4th of July.