In this edition of ‘In the Spotlight,’ let’s talk with Michelle Martelle. Michelle was enrolled in the Integrative Approach to Movement program for the past 6-months which includes an orthopedic approach to movement training. Due to the long-term nature of these chronic injuries, a patient and progressive approach needs to be taken in order to respect the body’s healing process. Luckily for me, Michelle was awesome to work with and I enjoyed every session!!
I started working with Michelle because she was suffering from a challenging case of plantar fasciitis and patellofemoral pain. When aches and pains linger for years, it’s an uphill battle getting to the point where things are manageable again. And in the case of overuse injuries, it may actually take 6-12 months for that to happen. Luckily, despite many frustrations throughout our time together, Michelle was able to prevail by working hard and being patient.
We regularly spoke about the rollercoaster ride she was on and how looking at improvements from a wider lens allows us to view those details which are impossible to see day to day or even week to week. It was also important to re-evaluate the baseline testing protocol to provide a more objective look at progress.
Without further ado, let’s shine the spotlight on…
Q: Where are you from?
A: “Charlotte, NC”
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: “I love boating and being on the lake. I also love hiking, especially around waterfalls.”
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be? Why?
A: “First and foremost, I would always want to live close to my children. I would hope that would be in a place that is warm all year round near crystal blue water.”
Q: When you first started working with Garrett, what were the goals you wanted to achieve?
A: “I was referred to Garrett when I was buying new tennis shoes. I was having terrible knee pain and had plantar fasciitis. I thought that new shoes would help. I was telling the salesperson that I used to love to run but haven’t been able to for the past four years. I also told her that I was starting PT for my knees and foot. She recommended Garrett because he had helped her work through an injury and get back to running. She said he would be able to help me too. So, I went to see Garrett for a consultation. He was so impressive and had all the confidence in the world that he could help me with my physical issues. So, I chose to work with Garrett versus a conventional physical therapist. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! My first and most important goal was to get rid of my knee pain and foot pain with the ultimate goal of being able to run again without pain.”
Q: How long have you been experiencing pain and were there any strategies in the past that provided relief?
A: “I have been dealing with plantar fasciitis from mild pain to severe pain for at least eight years. I have spent a lot of time stretching and rubbing my foot to get rid of the pain. It would go away slightly, but never healed completely. I had been dealing with knee pain for three months prior to working with Garrett. My knees have always had a small amount of pain, but not the extreme pain that I had been dealing with over the three previous months. I could barely get up the stairs at my house. Nothing I was doing was making it better.”
Q: What are the most noticeable improvements you’ve seen so far?
A: “Since working with Garrett, my foot pain is almost completely gone. It only hurts very mildly if at all and that is typically only right when I wake up. I am so excited about this progress! And my knees are so much better! I can go up and down the stairs with no problem. I can even run up and down the stairs now! I can sit on the floor Indian style and get up without my knees buckling on me!”
Q: Were these improvements easy to achieve? And, tell us a little bit about any struggles along the way.
A: “It took six months of working with Garrett to get to the point where I am now. It definitely wasn’t easy. I have always worked out, but I basically had to start over with certain exercises to build up the strength in my legs. It was very humbling. From the beginning through around four months, I was always in pain for a day after working with Garrett. I was having to learn new exercises and re-learn some of the exercises that I had been doing forever. I didn’t realize that the way I was doing some of the exercises before working with Garrett was incorrect and probably creating some of the issues. There were days that I didn’t want to go meet with Garrett because I was in so much pain and that made me super grumpy! He wouldn’t let me give up though. He made me push through and after six months, I feel so much better! I actually feel better than I have in years!”
Q: If you were having a conversation with someone who was experiencing the same aches/pains as you were, what would you tell them?
A: “I talk to people all of the time that are dealing with the same pains that I have had. I always say the same thing – go see Garrett! He has been great! I tell them all about my struggles with the pain, my training with Garrett for the past six months, and how much better I feel because of working with him.”
Q: What was your favorite part about the corrective exercise sessions?
A: “My favorite part about the corrective exercise sessions was seeing the improvements that I made and the strength I was building. I will be the first to say that I didn’t love all of the exercises because they were hard for me. But seeing where I am now versus six months ago makes it all worth it. I would do the exact same thing again if I had another injury. And honestly, working with Garrett was my favorite part! He was always so positive and upbeat! He has a great attitude and outlook on life! It’s hard not to leave smiling after training with Garrett!”
Q: What is that one thing you dislike the most (exercise, stretch, etc.) but continue to work on because you know it will help?
A: “What I have learned along the way is that my hamstrings are my achilles heel. They are the cause of a lot of my issues because they are super tight, especially my left one. I REALLY don’t like the supine ball curls! My hamstrings cramp up almost immediately. But Garrett has taught me that I need to focus on using my glutes, not my hamstrings. Maybe it is actually a weak gluteus maximus that is the cause of all of my issues! 😛 I still do the daily exercises he gives me and try to do the weight training he taught me twice a week.”
Q: If there is one piece of advice that you could provide to yourself when you first started this program, what would that be?
A: “At the beginning of my time working with Garrett, I would have told myself to be patient and that there will be times that you will feel like giving up. I would have told myself to remember that I would need to work through it slowly. Thankfully, Garrett reminded me of that!”
Q: How do you feel Garrett’s services may differ from other professionals in his field?
A: “Garrett is the first trainer I have ever worked with. He is very educated in what he does. While I was training with him, he attended several continuing education seminars. Also, he works with a lot of people to rehabilitate them after injuries. I had sought help in many different ways for the pains I was dealing with and Garrett has been the only one who was able to “fix” my physical issues. I believe that his ART certification makes him stand out among his peer group.”
Q: Looking ahead, do you have any new goals you are working towards?
A: “I am working hard towards running again. I am not a marathon runner, just a simple 5k runner. I really enjoy it and would love to be able to run without having any pain or injuries. Also, I would really like to do a mud run again. They are so much fun!”
Thank you for reading this ‘In the Spotlight’ segment. And, a big shout out to Michelle Martelle! Please feel free to comment below with any questions or feedback.