I've had my final physical therapy appointment related to my bursitis, and the results are a little befuddling.
After the first week of treatment, the swelling was shrinking and my knee's sense of stiffness and sensitivity had dropped off sharply. The PT and I were both surprised at how effective it had been and how quickly. By the end of the second week she thought I might be already to a point where it would finish recovering naturally, but just to be sure, we scheduled a third week of treatment. But by time I came in for the first day of that, the swelling had returned and my knee felt almost as stiff as it had before we started. We continued the same process and things were a little better at the end of the third week, but not as good as they had been.
My skin was also starting to react to the iontophoresis, so we skipped a week to give it a chance to recover, and had one last appointment scheduled. During that week, I kept thinking, boy, I miss what it was like when it was better. I felt like it was as sensitive as ever, and I had to be just as careful with not bumping it as ever, or maybe only a little less. It got stiff in only a few hours of walking around at Tunbridge. I thought when I went in we'd be wondering whether to start a different approach, or start over with the same one, or what.
But when she saw me, she looked at my knee and immediately concluded things must be much better, because both to visual and tactile observation, it seems much less swollen; in fact, the swelling is almost impossible to locate (and therefore to treat). I still have some numbness but she said that was normal; the pressure on those nerve endings had been omnipresent for almost six months, so they'll take a while to regenerate. We did some tests and my range of motion and strength are much greater than before we started, and I'm even able to kneel on it without much discomfort. By all measures it seems I should feel better than ever.
So am I just having my perceptions skewed somehow, and things really are much better? She wasn't sure. It could be that there is still some swelling but of a sort that's likely to recede on its own. It could be that I'm just as good as it's going to get, and I simply haven't finished adjusting to that. In any case, there's nothing more she can do with the treatments previously authorized, so if I feel that I need to do more, I'd have to go back to the orthopedist again and see what he thinks.
Probably I just need to adjust how I treat my knee, and get used to however good it is as being as good as it's going to be.