Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Graston Technique aka Torture

I've officially been in my sexy boot for over 4 weeks now.  What originally was thought to be a 2 week adventure in Bootland has now extended to at least 6 weeks.  I've been going to physical therapy every other weekday to get the Graston Technique done on my Achilles, along with having to do some stretches and exercises.  I don't mind the stretching and exercises, but MAN the Graston technique hurts!!  Seriously, every time I get it done I am surprised at how badly it hurts.  But it seems to be working, so I'm happy about that.

So what is the Graston Technique?  I had never heard of it, but after getting it done to me I decided to research it a bit more.  This is what I've found:
That sounds nice and wonderful, but the reality is that they take a scary looking metal tool with sharp edges and push nearly as hard as they can on the sorest spot on your injury and literally grind/scrape away the scar tissue.  It takes all my willpower not to scream/kick at them or cry.  I frequently leave the appointments with bruises.
This is the torture device used on me

And there is a lovely bruise from the tool
I am pretty sure it is the most painful thing (other than childbirth) that I have voluntarily gone through while awake.  I think it would be bad enough on a healthy tendon, but that area on me is currently sore just to touch so having that much pressure applied to it with such a sharp edge results in quite a bit of pain.  However, I keep going back for more because it really does seem to be working.  I can feel more mobility in my tendon, and the "bump" of scar tissue I had on the back of my tendon feels smaller every day.  I am REALLY hoping this works for me, for several reasons!  One, I am more than ready to get back to being active.  Two, it really freaking hurts so I would hate to go through it for no good reason!  :)

I have another appointment with my podiatrist (separate from my physical therapist) on Monday to see how much longer I need to wear the boot.  Even if I get the approval to take it off, my PT wants me to gradually taper down from wearing it so I will be in it at least 6 weeks total if not more.  I must admit--this is taking much longer to heal than I expected!  However, after reading this article I am beginning to understand why just resting the tendon and not working out did not do anything to alleviate the pain.  I'm just glad I finally went to the doctor when I did so that I wasn't having to wear the boot throughout the winter!  I just wish I would have gone earlier so I might have been able to actually get outdoors this summer.  Oh well, you live and you learn!

I am looking forward to being at the end of the healing process with my achilles so that I can come up with a workout plan that I can actually do and commit to.  My doctors have warned me that I have to start out really slowly, but that I should be able to ramp up fairly quickly after my achilles has proved itself.  I'm anxious for that stage to be here!  I was hoping to run a Turkey Trot 10k for Thanksgiving, but there is no way I will be able to.  At this point, I'd be lucky to run a 5k!

So that's where I'm currently at.  I will keep you updated!  Oh, and don't let my pain talk scare you away from this technique if your doctors think you need it done.  The actual "grinding" part only takes about 5 minutes of the appointment and it really does seem to be working.  For me, the pain will be more than worth it once my injury is healed!


  1. I have a love/hate relationship with the Graston. It hurts SO bad and leaves bruises but it's been the best thing ever for my injury and running.
    Feel better!

  2. Graston Technique sounds insanely painful.
    I have nothing, but respect for people who have the strength to do what is necessary to improve them self.