My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
I have had second opinions on my broken fingers up until now, so I figured that I should do the same for my Canadian physiotherapy, just in case. It’s hard to deny the beauty of the scenery at my second PT clinic. It is located on the banks of a beautiful Canadian river and you can stare out and ponder the Canada geese from the comfort of your PT cubicle. The cubicles themselves are curtains only, no walls, which is more familiar to me than being in a stuffy little box by myself. This clinic’s cubicle set up resembles its Mexican counterpart more closely than that of the first Canadian PT clinic. Though I didn’t talk to any of the other patrons I appreciated the possibility being available to me.
Stage one of my treatment was a familiar steamy heat pad with towel for about 10-15 minutes, after which the physiotherapist greeted me and undertook some passive range of motion (PROM) exercises with each of my fingers. He was very focussed on providing traction with the extension exercises, what he called “gapping the joint,” which I had been intuitively trying with the MCP joints for some time. He also undertook flexion exercises, first individually for each joint, and then for the entire set of fingers. I am not sure that he did them all for the same amount of repeats or for the same amount of time, but it certainly made the fingers looser upon the conclusion of all the exercises. We played with the positioning of self-adhesive tape and discussed the use of popsicle sticks with the self-adhesive tape to straighten my middle finger. The whole appointment was followed up with more heat because he acknowledged that while he would normally follow up with cold, my hand did not tolerate cold well.
The main differences between the two Canadian PT clinics are therefore the method and duration of heat treatment, the extension exercises with traction, and a lot of other self-care recommendations, but no insistence that I sit there and do all the exercises myself a second time before leaving. I think both approaches have merit and so I will continue to do them both since I couldn’t get in every day at this new clinic anyway. On days when I can go to the second PT clinic I will cancel my appointment with the first PT clinic. The Mexican insurance agency is sure to blow a gasket, but they probably will anyway because physiotherapy costs so much more in Canada than it does in Mexico.