A few weeks ago, I made a comment about my ridiculous foot issue on a story on FitChickInTheCity about Finish Line PT. Last week I got an email from them inviting me to come in to try an ASTYM treatment and their Anti-Gravity Treadmill. I made the appointment right away because although I didn’t fully understand what would really be happening at the session, I was dying to get to talk to a Physical Therapist.
Finish Line PT is a stunning loft-like space, hidden in what looks like a normal office building. It was much bigger than I expected. I got there early because I figured there would be a lot of paperwork to fill out but the questionnaire was actually really short, so after getting changed, I hung out and scoped out the well laid out space. The treatment rooms are closed off by the large sliding screen doors – which I was warned not to change too close to for privacy’s sake – creating spaces that seem very light and cozy instead of a normal clinical medical vibe.
Brynn Fessette, my PT, came in and I immediately liked her –friendly, easy to talk to and not remotely judgmental. After describing my injury and feeling around my foot for a few minutes, Brynn told me what I knew was true. I have Plantar Fasciitis and it’s been going on for too long. She was open, very knowledgeable about why it occurred but comically excited that my injury was the perfect candidate for the ASTYM treatment. ASTYM (pronounced A-stim) is a soft tissue treatment that helps to breakdown unwanted scar tissue that may be causing pain or movement restrictions and brings blood flow into the area to rejuvenate the soft tissue that is being treated. Brynn told me a story about a doctor who’d been self treating his Plantar Fasciitis for two years and it was a series of ASTYM treatments that finally got him running again pain free. It was a hugely hopeful thing to hear; I was beginning to think I would just have it forever!
Before we did the treatment though, Brynn did a gait analysis. I hopped on their treadmill which is rigged with s seriously cool tool called the Optojump – with two cameras – one shooting from the side, one from the back and a track that measured seemingly everything you could ever want to know about how you move, including things like the length, striking time and impact of each stride. All of that info is instantly fed into a computer and analyzed. Mostly I am very even, except for the fact that my right side takes a 4 inch shorter stride which is very bad thing apparently! My foot issue is tightening up my stride far more than is ok. Brynn told me that she would be giving me hip and calf stretches to do, to try and open that mobility up. It was so interesting to go over all of that data and to be able to see in such intricate detail how I actually move through space.
Then, it was off to actually get the ASTYM treatment. As I lay down, Brynn warned me again that it was going to hurt. The treatment uses two hard plastic tools pressed firmly against the area being treated, usually going in the direction of the muscle. The first is a longer blade like one, followed over the same area by the smaller wand like one that could “really get in there.” Maybe because I’d been warned so much that it would hurt, I was actually surprised by the fact that it didn’t really hurt that badly at all. It hurt, but not so much that I wanted to kick her & the whole treatment was over before I knew it!
Before I headed out, I got a chance to check out the Finish Line’s AlterG treadmill, which is an anti-gravity treadmill that is just wildly awesome. When I heard about it, I couldn’t figure out how it worked, but once I was on the thing, it made perfect sense. I slipped on a neoprene skort and stepped onto the treadmill belt through a hole in a material cover, the sides raised up to my hips, and then zipped the skort in and created a tent for my legs. Then, I stood there on both feet as the tent filled up with air around me. I started running and played with how much body weight I wanted to run with. SO MUCH fun! At 50% I felt like I was running on clouds. I hovered around 75% for most of my 2 miles and loved every second of the lightness and fun of getting to play with how weight felt on my legs… seriously, I would love to run on that thing more often. It was one time where I actually enjoyed every second of my run!
Photos of Finish Line PT from Finishlinept.com & bottom quote just a little bit of internet goodness.