5 Things I Learned in Physical Therapy

Following my surgery for exertional compartment syndrome I went to physical therapy twice a week for nine weeks.

I was initially only supposed to go for about six weeks but I ended up with some scar tissue buildup near the incisions that required more massage therapy to breakup. Now the scar tissue buildup is basically gone and I’m free from PT.

I really liked my physical therapist, Steve. He was chatty, knowledgable and helpful. During my time there he helped me realize five things about myself that I think I was vaguely aware of, but didn’t really think about too often.

1. I SUPER Over-Pronate 

One day I forgot to pack my sneakers, so I did my session in just a pair of socks. It was on this day that my PT exclaimed that I REALLY over-pronate as he watched my walk around.

I always knew that I over-pronated but my PT pointed out that I actually over-pronate to the extreme.

Perhaps not surprisingly, over-pronotion is common in runners because repetitive pounding on a hard surface can weaken the arch. Maybe that’s why I had never heard the term before I became a runner.

I’ve been wearing Brooks Adrenalines for years now and they are a great shoe for correcting over-pronation. I like them a lot, and I’m glad to confirm I’ve been wearing the right shoes all these years.

2. I Have Flat Feet

It’s really common for people who over-pronate to have flat feet – and I have flat feet. I honestly had never thought about it before and didn’t think they were flat. But they totally are! SO WEIRD!

3. My Calves Will Always be Tight 

My PT stressed over and over again that he believes I’ll always have tight calves. Some people have chronic tight hips, hamstrings, etc. and I have chronic tight calves.

As long as the tightness isn’t related to exertional compartment syndrome or some other medical condition, then it’s all about stretching and management.

I was really bummed to hear this because I thought the surgery would leave me with loose/normal calves. My calves are generally so tight that 30 seconds after stretching they feel just as tight as before I stretched them.

Oh well, what can I do? “These calves are tight I know, but they are not yours, they are my own and I am never broken.” (Do you get that reference? Think: Jewel lol.)

4. I Have Poor Balance 

I’ve pretty much known this my whole life. After surgery it got worse though. Sometimes I’d be standing and start tipping over!

While much of my PT focused on stretching and massaging my calves, another good portion of it focused on improving my balance. I did see a major difference in my ability to (more) successfully complete balance exercises at the end… but I still wouldn’t say I have great balance.

5. I Have Good Flexibility 

When measuring my foot/ankle flexibility, full range of motion came back really fast even with some swelling still lingering about. Oddly enough over-pronation is common for people who have flexible yet flat feet.

I guess I can just a textbook case for over-pronation!

Do you over-pronate or have flat feet?
Poor balance or great balance?
What have you learned from PT?

PS: I don’t know why but new posts haven’t been showing up on the blog unless you refresh a couple times. To be alerted when new posts go up subscribe via BlogLovin or Feedly. Thank you!



  1. November 13, 2017 / 5:08 am

    Its good you learned these things about yourself in PT! I have somewhat high arches and am pretty much a neutral runner. Ive always had good balance probably because I grew up dancing. Considering those things it seems odd that I still get injured all the time!

  2. Susan
    November 13, 2017 / 10:17 am

    Wow–so interesting. I actually have a pretty neutral gait but am more likely to roll to the outside of my foot so anything with stability is out for me! I have terrible balance, too. Really trying to work on that! How is your wound feeling?

  3. November 13, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    When I go to PT I learn the pretty much EVERYTHING is wrong with me. If I focus on one thing, then something else lacks. I had terrible ankle flexibility but then I stretched them every day and got better. I don’t pronate or have flat feet or anything like that… but I do have UGLY feet! I immediately sang your tight calf song in my head with the correct melody. 😉 Music teacher for life!

  4. November 14, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    Hmmmm, I guess I don’t have flat feet. But looking at your foot, you sure do! I don’t know if I over pronate, but I do have a very distinctive landing because I wear out my shoes in the left heel first all of the time. And I have quite a wacky arm swing too I think, which makes me cringe when I look at race pictures. Sad thing is that I’m trying really hard to look “proper” and that’s how it turns out! yikes.
    I thought it was just me having those problems with your new posts not loading! I have learned to hit refresh and the new ones will show up, so I have a workaround.