Monday, March 2, 2009

Anatomy 101

As you may know after reading my Not Me! post this morning, I injured my leg yesterday while walking at church. I ended the post saying I was counting the hours until I went to the orthopedic clinic to see what really happened. Well, I'm back and I have a diagnosis, so I thought I'd give you an update. And since I didn't get to teach today, I thought I'd use you as my students to tell you what I've learned. No really, it will be fun! :)

At my appointment, it was determined that I didn't injure my Achilles tendon and I don't have fluid on my knee (a good thing). I didn't need x-rays because they wouldn't show anything, and I don't need surgery.

In medical terms, I tore my plantaris tendon and medial gastrocnemius muscle in the calf of my left leg. What in the world is the plantaris tendon and medial gastrocnemius muscle? you wonder. I'm so glad you asked! Allow me to present you with your Anatomy 101 lesson for the day. This information is borrowed from a website, which I have become quite familiar with...

The plantaris muscle is a pencil-sized structure tapering down to a fine tendon which runs beneath the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to attach to the Achilles tendon or to the medial side of the tubercle of the calcaneus. The function of the muscle is of little importance and, with rupture of either the muscle or the tendon, the transient disability is due only to the pain of the torn fibers or swelling from the hemorrhage. Clinical differentiation from complete rupture of the Achilles tendon is sometimes difficult to make. The greater the initial pain and swelling, the longer one can expect the disability to last.

Now, allow me to explain in terms that "normal" people understand. I even found a picture! And a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. Anyway, this tendon really doesn't have much of a purpose, although it is involved in locking the knee, I guess. The doctor said it's one of those body parts that we don't really need (like appendix). Even 7%-10% of people don't have one. I kinda wish I didn't! But then I wouldn't have learned this part of anatomy, so I guess it's okay. He explained what happened this way... While walking, as I put my heel down, it may have been off balance because I was walking up an incline, and the force of it caused my tendon to snap. It's like a rubber band was stretched to the max and someone cut it with a scissors. The intense, instant pain was from the tendon hitting the other muscles (rubber band hitting your finger). It's funny, because that's exactly how I explained it to my parents. Maybe I should be a doctor??? No, I don't think so.

Because the tendon/muscle tore, I have internal bleeding which may show up in a bruise in 7-10 days. He said don't be surprised if it goes to your ankle. I kind of hope it does. Battle wounds, I guess you'd call them. Wouldn't that make a cool picture? At least I'd have something to show for it all!

Treatment: I have a 9/16 inch lift I have to put under the insole of my shoe. As you read earlier, I have been known to walk around with a robe and high heeled shoe. That is because I can't put my foot flat and put any weight on it, so walking "normal" is out of the question for 6 weeks. After trying this lift, I realized it's not high enough, so I have to go get another one today. Hopefully that will help, although I'm sure the fashion statement I was making with my pajamas and heels would be magazine-worthy! I would have fit into the 50s well! Heels in the kitchen. I am restricted in walking/standing 1-3 hours a day, and knowing how long it takes me to get from one place to another, that's not too long. No climbing ladders (bummer), bending, stooping, squating, crouching, crawling, or kneeling. So pretty much I can sit.

I start physical therapy next week, 2 or 3 times a week for a month. Should be interesting. I am going to attempt to do preschool tomorrow, with the help of a wheeled desk chair. Hopefully the kids will be patient with me.

So there you have it, your anatomy lesson for the day. Your homework assignment??? Don't tear your plantaris tendon or gastrognemius muscle. It really hurts! THE FINAL EXAM IS A KILLER!


ben and erin said...

thanks for putting part of that in layman's terms!
definitely take a picture of the bruise if it gets big! :-) although it wouldn't be as cool as an oven element burn! lol

A day in the Life... said...

Ouch That sounds painful..
I hope you feel better soon!

Jessica said...

Wow, that sucks! Sorry to hear...

I agree w/Erin... take a pic of the bruise if you get one! I like battle wounds too... makes you look tough!