7/11/18

5,280 feet stretch between this avid runner and his new goal

Don Owen never broke a bone. Until a late-night run tripped him up, literally. Down he went, rolling his left ankle and landing on his right knee.

The avid runner shook it off, opting to “run it out,” continuing with his daily training for the Illinois half marathon, but he swiftly recognized his worsening injury. An x-ray revealed a fractured patella. Doctors noticed no tendon or ligament damage, offering goods news – no surgery.

“I must have bounced right off my knee cap. A slight twist and it would have been much more serious,”Ownen said.

None-the-less, his recovery included seven weeks in a straight leg brace and two and a half weeks in left ankle boot and a physical therapy routine.

Carle Therapy Services offers a full range of services related to physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training and speech and language pathology.

A life-long educator, the Urbana superintendent quickly learned new skills – how to call for Uber, for one.

“I’d never been laid up before. Students had a variety of responses ranging from amusement to sympathy. Several staff joked, ‘That’s what exercise will do to you,’” he said.

Running relieves stress. Owen anxiously awaits its return but not without the proper care.

“I’m pleased with my care at Carle. I’m motivated to get at it but understand the importance of doing so safely so I can be running for the long-term,” he said.

Determined to get back into the swing of things, he nearly accepted a jump-roping challenge on Twitter.

“Friendly competition is good, but it was my first day off crutches,” he said.

Owen’s attention turned to preparing for the annual Mile at the Pines race benefitting Champaign-Urbana Schools Foundation and sponsored by Carle.

“I have no aspirations of winning, but I’ll cross the finish line without stopping,” he said.

With guidance from physical therapist Adam Carver, PT, Owen now focuses on strength and balance to work new muscle groups to repair his injuries and prevent further damage.

“I’m doing conditioning that I’ve never done before as a runner. I hurt the next day, but it’s good. I’m using muscles I haven’t in a long time good. Adam helps me up my game,” Owen said.

The long-term prognosis is good – soon Owen will be lacing up his sneakers and pounding the pavement.

Owen must continue exercises outside of his traditional appointments – his homework so to speak. Admittedly, he doesn’t always complete it, but don’t tell the students.

“Building an individualized plan helps a patient meet their personal goals. Whether that’s walking down the street, playing with their grandkids or running a marathon,” Carver said. “Our exercise programs improve balance, coordination, strength and flexibility to tackle home, work and recreational activities.”