Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy, have you ever broken a bone or had a surgery and then been told several months after the surgery was completed, that you should be better by everybody involved. That your hand or arm, whatever it was that had surgery, should be better and that they consider the result of that surgery or the procedure as a win. Everything's great as far as they're concerned, but in your world, you still can't get back to the things that you want to do. You still have pain daily, you're still having a problem getting back all the things that are important to you. That is exactly what happened to Isabella. Isabella is in her seventies and she has been active her whole life. And one day she was driving down the road and somebody pulled out and hit the side of her car.
She was going 30 mph when they just pulled out. Just that collision, which doesn't seem like it should be that much, ended up fracturing her left ring finger. That knuckle was very badly damaged, thankfully she didn't need surgery, but it was casted. It took about two months, almost 10 weeks for that to fully heal. During that time, obviously your hand is fractured, then you can't really use your arm cuz you can't hold anything with your hand. You can't do anything. So that whole arm during that time got weak.
When she went to therapy, because she's so active and able to do more things than what people normally consider a 70 year old able to do, they sort of dismissed her lack of strength as just being part of the surgery. Even though things were still swelling, they're like, you're still doing great things.
Things just swell occasionally and maybe you need to rest it some more. After a few rounds and I mean like several physical therapy sessions in six to eight weeks and speaking with her orthopedic surgeon and her other orthopedic people, just trying to get all these people to understand that her hands still hurt daily. She still didn't have full range of motion. She still couldn't hold pots and pans. She still couldn't go back to swimming because every time she tried to swim her forearms swelled up. They kept telling her to rest and to wait, and she was getting very frustrated. She was starting to believe that this was as good as it was going to get. And here it is that Isabella is in her seventies and she has been active and by active, I mean she has tried everything.
She has done Pilates and Yoga. She did martial arts for a while. She was into dance for a time and the longest standing thing, her biggest love has been swimming. She still competes, she participates in meets every month, if not twice a month. She still races and she beats records in her age class. She is just a very, very active person to be told that you're just gonna have pain holding onto a pot and a pan was horrifying for her.
So a friend referred her to me and we met. We got to talk and I was able to come over and do an evaluation. After looking at her hand, seeing what was going on with her forearm, seeing her shoulder, I was able to see that it wasn't just a hand problem anymore.
She was even telling me she was having neck pain that she hadn't had before. So basically from her neck down to her hand was having problems. They were being affected by this injury and now this wasn't just an eight week injury. This is pushing into 10 months that she's been dealing with this and now she is truly believing, this is as good as it's gonna be. I mean, 10 months, how much longer can this thing take to heal? The bone's been healed for forever but she still couldn't close her fist all the way. She still couldn't, again, hold a pot or a pan and carrying groceries was a problem.
This injury, which the lawyers, the doctors, everybody was saying was such a minor thing, was not minor for Isabella. It was very dramatic and it was taking away a lot of joy from her life.
And so when I started working with her, we were able to calm down the swelling in her forearm. We were able to come up with a very dynamic program that helped everything from her hand, all the way to her shoulder and improve her neck because you're not just one body part, everything works together. If your hand is weak, your shoulder does more work. If your shoulder isn't able to help it, then everything has a problem, right? So if your body's not balanced, lots of things go wrong.
Part of the healing process after any injury is trying to figure out what's injured and then what other things are gonna help. Without getting too nerdy on how all that works, you are not just one body part. If something is injured, other things are being affected.
So if the only thing being addressed in this case, her hand, then you're missing out on a lot of other things that could be playing into why you're still having pain. I'm happy to say that just last week she was able to compete in a swim meet. She's brushing it off, like it's not a big deal because she didn't do as well as she thought, but she definitely held her own. She wasn't in pain afterwards. She was just a little bit sore, just a little bit of normal soreness. Overall she was able to compete. She didn't take it easier on herself and her forearm didn't swell up and that is such a better place than where she was just eight weeks ago.
Here she is at the end of what probably feels like the never ending journey for her, she is going to be back swimming and competing at her full strength and in the not too distant future.
I just wanted to let anybody out there who just got told that, maybe this is as good as it's gonna get. And they're feeling a little bit defeated that not everybody's gonna have that opinion. There may be more things that you can do. It just takes a broader perspective. Somebody who's gonna have a conversation and talk to you and find out exactly what it is that you need to get better and not just look at a general form and say that people with this kind of an injury need X kind of care and you'll take X amount of time, because we're not built like that.
We all have our own timelines. We all have our own history. And there's a lot of things to consider when you come and see a movement specialist to get you back to all the things that matter. And I hope you're having a great day, bye.
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald