Thursday, August 21, 2008

half way to normal

I had my eighth physical therapy appointment this morning. I'm definitely seeing signs of improvement but there's still a long way to go. So I'm both relieved and anxious depending on which measure I'm focusing on. The movement of holding my elbow at my side and rotating my hand palms up and palms down is the most improved. I can get nearly to flat now in both directions. But the movement of bending the hand forward and backward at the wrist is still very limited: about 45 degrees forward and 30 backward, where normal for me is 90 degrees both directions.

The physical therapy consists of several different treatments. One thing I do is a series of exercises where I use various grips to turn a pole at the end of which is attached a weight hanging from a rope. As I turn the pole the rope wraps around lifting the weight off the floor. It takes about 40 turns for the rope to be completely wrapped around the pole. Then I let the weight back to the floor and do it again, 10 times. The first day of physical therapy I used only a quarter pound weight. This morning I did 5 pounds. So pretty good.

The therapist says that I'll soon be finished with the official therapy visits, then within two or three months she predicts I'll be doing everything with the hand that I previously did, but she predicts it will be a full year before the hand feels completely normal again. I see the orthopaedic surgeon again tomorrow which will be another point of information on my progress.

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