Thursday, February 16, 2006

Physical Therapy for a Baker

So, baking isn't all sugar and butter all the time. It's something of a contact sport, as all the ingredients that have passed my way can attest. In fact, I haven't felt so much like a sports team member since high school field hockey.

Part of that is the fun of the camaraderie with the people I'm working with as we dart around the kitchen, and the comparing how other people are doing against how you're doing, and the vague feeling of winning when something works out well, as well as the feeling of defeat when it doesn't.

Another part of the sports analogy is physical. When we're not standing, we're walking quickly. We try not to get burned, splattered on, or careened into. We try not to hunch over the bench (as the work table is called).

When I first started the program about a month ago, my knees started to hurt. Sharp pains near the bottom of the kneecap. Standing hurts, but I prefer that to walking and tackling stairs.

I've had problems with my knees in the past (10 yrs ago), so I knew that my legs are probably weak and my knee caps are askew. My shoes always get worn out on the outside heel. I wanted to try to fix this and make sure it wasn't something more serious, so I saw a doctor. He said that I have patella tendonitis, which is caused by standing all day. Shocking. He also lightly mocked how weak my legs are, and sent me off to physical therapy.

I went for the first time today, and will have 2-3 visits for 3 weeks. I'm starting off with light exercises and stretches. It turns out that my feet are a little flat and my hip muscles are also weak, causing my femur to roll in a little when I walk, instead of going slightly out to support my body. I'll continue the exercises on my own after 3 weeks.

So, I just wanted to share this as a part of the culinary school/baking experience for me. And at least my orthopedist who specializes in sports understood why I saw him... and didn't mock me for that.


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