Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bursitis therapy

Monday was my first physical therapy session for my bursitis resulting from my March injury, and will be the first of four, on Mondays and Wednesdays. I was expecting a lot of "homework" (exercises I would have to find time for) but this seems to be the one time that they have a treatment that they do, not just one I have to do. The only homework I have is to ice it, both as needed for soreness, and about once a day to help the fluid to recede.

The therapist considered the whole thing a fairly minor case and was surprised at how little it affected my movement. In fact, I think she thought (but didn't say) that the orthopedist could probably have just drained it with a needle and that would have been that -- she certainly wondered why he didn't drain it. My sense was that after these four visits I will probably be back to nearly full function. (To think I've been that close for more than five months now!)

All she's doing is about ten minutes of ultrasound on my knee -- I can barely feel it -- followed by twenty minutes of iontopheresis. That's using ionic charge to cause a medication to be transferred from a patch into my skin; the medicine is negatively charged, so applying a negative charge to it forces it to push its way into the skin. It tingles and is a little hot, but it's nothing too bad, and you can read while it happens. The whole treatment is pretty simple and it's no problem for me to ride my bike to the appointments. (In fact, bike-riding is just the right kind of exercise she would have suggested anyway, as long as I can do it comfortably, and I'm even doing it the right amount at a time.)

Once the fluid is encouraged to recede and the swelling has gone down, the impression I get (though she didn't come right out and say so -- no one ever wants to commit to a prognosis) is that there will be little or no additional effects, because the bursae isn't actually significantly damaged, it's just swollen with fluid and the pressure is causing my symptoms. I hope that's right because I'm looking forward to being back to normal.

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