A Second Opinion

I almost titled this post, “Whine and ye shall receive!” Let me explain: there have been multiple instances in my life where I’ve been sitting/standing around, complaining about this or that, when some really helpful person steps in with, “Hey, I can help you out with that!” (Now quit your whining.)

Last month, I went on and on about my dilemma with a certain massage therapist. My sister JS, who reads my blog (bless her heart), was kind enough to ask her friend SB for some advice. SB is a physical therapist specializing in sports medicine with about 20 years of experience. What’s more, she’s a super nice lady who agreed to come over and give me a quick assessment while I was visiting JS in Maryland. Sweet!

Because SB is a busy working mom, she had to squeeze in our visit late last night at 10pm, after her 3 kids were asleep. She asked me to do some basic ankle exercises to determine my balance and strength. She also did a few leg and core strength assessments.

What she found was not totally surprising, but it definitely needed to be said. For one thing, my ankle is not as strong as it should be, and she was dismayed at how swollen it was compared to my good ankle. She said that by following the stretching and strengthening routine she would prescribe, I would gradually see that swelling reduced. She also reaffirmed my belief that my ankle range of motion was about 10 degrees short of where it should be, and without those 10 degrees of motion, I’d be risking injury/pain to the rest of my joints due to compensation.

But the ankle was just part of the story. She also determined that my low back, lower abdomen, gluteus medius (above the gluteus maximus), and hips all needed strengthening. As for stretching, just about every part of my lower body needed to be more flexible, from my ankles up to my low back. SB then went through a long list of stretches, strengthening exercises, and balance exercises to help me improve.

I went through the whole series this morning, and had 2 immediate observations. One, SB made everything look easy. I struggled through some of the stretches and half of the exercises this morning. I definitely have a long way to go! Two, this routine is going to take a lot of time. The series took me one whole hour to do. SB suggested that I stretch everyday and do the strengthening 3-4 times a week. So, it’s going to be quite intense, but I think it will be really helpful as long as I stick with it.

As for the bodywork, SB’s professional opinion was that, given how much strength and flexibility work I have to do, it doesn’t make any sense to go to a massage therapist for now. She said that a therapist would be more ideal once I get everything up to par, when/if I need some fine-tuning.

SB’s expert advice was really invaluable, and I’m so grateful to have an honest, professional, unbiased opinion regarding my ankle. She said if I don’t see improvements in a couple of months, then I should go see a physical therapist, but I’m hopeful that things are on the up and up. Thanks to SB, and also to JS for hooking a sister up! 🙂


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Injuries, random
9 comments on “A Second Opinion
  1. Mike says:

    Wow, I’m surprised to hear your ankle is still that swollen, but hopefully her regimen will help to bring it back around. I find regular stretching and strengthening to be much harder to maintain than running… can’t say I’ve ever experienced a “stretcher’s high”. Sounds like a long, arduous process, but if done religiously, I’d expect it’ll do wonders for your balance and core strength. My own ankle feels significantly stronger and more balanced than it did 6 months ago; the trick now is getting the rest of me to keep up…

    • Jen says:

      The stretching is SO boring, but I’m trying to find ways to pass the time. I’m trying to tell myself that even if it weren’t for my ankle, these exercises and stretches would be good for me anyway.

  2. Amy says:

    Sounds like an easy (and cheap!) fix! Yay!

  3. bt says:

    Glad you got some good advice. Now you have a plan, all you have to do is execute!

  4. Cathryn says:

    Great news that you got a second opinion that you have confidence in – even better that it was free!!

  5. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast says:

    It’s so nice to have contacts like that! That’s fantastic that strength work should do the trick… I’m afraid to know how imbalanced I’ve become as a result of this training cycle. 🙂

  6. Angela says:

    The people I trust the most have definitely told me on multiple occasions that something like 75% of running injuries are a result of weak core muscles (glutes, hips, lower abs, etc.) & that solving that problem almost always solves 90% of whatever is wrong, so this strikes me as probably pretty reliable advice. Good luck!

    • Jen says:

      Yeah, I agree. I was skeptical when the massage therapist guy indicated weak hamstrings and said nothing of my core strength — I wanted to believe him, but at the same time, I know my own weaknesses. I should’ve known at that point that the guy either wasn’t very experienced or knowledgeable.

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