Episode 1: Vampires, Calf Cramps and Shin Splints

Hey there. This is the first episode of “Any Day Adventures of a Physical Therapist.” I’m Andrew Dombek. I’m the owner of AID Performance Physical Therapy in Ashburn, Virginia. What this blog is gonna be about is it’s gonna tell you about some of the trials and tribulations in my life as well as answer questions that I’ve received via email or from my clients in the office.

And this is my location for today, it’s out on my back deck. You might be wondering why I’m wearing sunglasses. Well, besides being outside, I think I’ve become a vampire.

It’s kind of a funny story. So, two nights ago, I was fast asleep. I had to take some sleeping medications. Staying up watching too much Michael Phelps on TV. So my wife wakes me up and startles me, “Oh, my, God.” And she says, “Oh, there’s something flying around in the house,” and I’m like, “Oh, whatever.”

So, I get dressed and I come downstairs and she’s like, “Ah, ah, there it is. There it is.” And I’m like, “I don’t see anything. It’s just a bug. You’re just imagining thing.” And so we walk into the kitchen and all over sudden, I’m like, “Holy cow, it’s a bat!” And then as soon as I say, “It’s a bat,” she’s screaming. She’s on the ground covering her hair and screaming top of her lungs and I’m surprised our daughter, Eden, didn’t wake up from this. So anyways, she proceeds to hand me a fly swatter and says, “Here, take care of it.”

So, I’m sitting there, the thing is flying around the house. I open the backdoor and I’m swatting at the thing as it’s flying around trying not to hit me. And I’m hoping that, “All right, maybe he’ll fly out. This will be real easy.” Well, I open the door, it doesn’t wanna go out and I’m worried. Well, I think that’s the way it came in so close the door and then I chased the thing around. The next thing you know, the bat is flying upstairs and it’s up in the top floor and all the doors are open to all the bedrooms. So I run upstairs and I’m… Close all the doors and my wife is hearing, “Plat, pow, pow.” I’m sitting there swinging the fly swatter left and right. And I just finally get a hold of it and knock it down and it falls down and I’m like, “All right, now what do I do?”

So I go and get Eden’s wastepaper can basket out of the bathroom and I try and throw it on top of it and it slips out. I try to do it again and it’s like partially on the stairs because it moved and it flew in. I’m like, “Oh, great.” So now, it’s flown back downstairs and we’re like, “Where is it going?” because it’s not flying around. It’s probably dazed and confused and I’m still dazed and confused because I was fast asleep and I wasn’t awake.

So I see it hanging on the top of the blinds on our bay window and I’m carrying this big, thick plastic wastepaper basket. I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t think Tanya will be happy with me just trying to capture the bat on the window with this.” So I said, “Grab me a garbage bag!” She gives me a garbage bag and I go over and I throw the bag over top of it. And I’m closing the bag up and I’m like, “Oh, son of a gun, I think he got me.”

So I take the bat outside in the garbage bag and I let it…, you know, release it. And then we come back inside, I’m like, “All right, what do we do next?” And of course the first thing it says about bats is, if you get bit by a bat, try and capture it so you can test it to see if it has rabies. Well, that went out the window.

So then meanwhile, it’s probably 1:30 in the morning and Tanya’s like, “Well, you’ve got to go drive yourself to the ER,” and I’m like, “What?” I’m like, “Oh, man.” She’s like, “Well, Eden’s upstairs sleeping and you know.” So I go and get in the car. Luckily, the hospital is just a straight shot three miles down the road. So I drive down there and I tell them I got bit by a bat. So they take me back and they’re like, “All right, we’re gonna need to give you rabies shots.” I’m like, “Oh, great.”

So needless to say, I got like five rabies shots in my thumb. I know there’s immunoglobulin in my thumb. They give me a tetanus shot in one shot in one shoulder, a rabies shot in the other shoulder, a shot in the thigh, a shot in the butt. And then they’re like, “Thank you. Here’s some antibiotics. You gotta come back for some more in three days, and a week, and then two weeks.” So, I’m like, “Great.” So now, my daughter thinks I’m gonna turn into a vampire. So, I’m wearing sunglasses so I don’t burn up. Anyways, that’s part of my story.

So, the first question I got this week was from Carly. Carly is about a 20-year-old soccer player. She plays for, I think, Christopher Newport University, and she’s been suffering from shin splints. She said, “Why am I getting shin splints. You know I run and the pain is just intense. I can’t train. I can’t run for very long. My fitness level is diminishing.”

You know, I said, “All right. Well, let me look at the way you’re running.” You know, I said, “All right. Well, one of the reasons that I see that you’re running on the balls of your feet. And like, “Well, aren’t you supposed to run like on your toes?” I said, “Yeah, you are supposed to run on your toes, but it’s a matter of where your toes land when you’re running.” And so essentially, it’s a classic case of overstriding and I myself had that. I’m an amateur runner and when I started running again, I started getting these calf pains. And I wore the calf sleeves that you see everybody wearing and that kind of helped a little bit. And then wound up getting treatment from my staff and got actually a running evaluation and same thing.

So the reason why you get calf cramps or shin splints while running is that you’re taking overstrides. When you overstride, what happens is you’re not really pushing off when your foot hits the ground. You are actually… The calf in the lower leg is decelerating your body weight and trying to support your body weight as it comes down. So your legs just fatigue because all your body weight is coming down on one foot and it just can’t handle the load. That was, you know, the answer to the question.

So, needless to say, what this blog is gonna be about is, you email me, you call the office, and you send me your questions. And I will answer them as to what may be the problem with your current running injury or any other injury that you may have.

My name is Andrew Dombek. I’m the owner of AID Performance Physical Therapy. You can call us at 703-723-6758 and you can speak to my lovely office manager, Jackie. She’s the best. We can set you up to answer some of your questions. Or you can email in to us at adombek@aidperformancept.com and we can send you over our free running injuries tips report. So I look forward to speaking to you. This is gonna be a weekly blog.

Anyways, this is the first episode of the “Any Day Adventures of a Physical Therapist.” See you next week. Bye

Andrew Dombek, PT, MSPT, CMTPT, CGFI
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