The fucked-up legs factor

Bicyle being repairedI’m injured, again. My sporting career, such as it is, has really been a long catalogue of physical breakdowns punctuated by occasional bouts of running around. Then it’s back to the treatment table. It started when I was 10 with a badly sprained ankle the night before the district schools athletics championships, continued through a series of nasty operations on my toes in my early teens which put paid to my burgeoning football career, then reached its pinnacle when I ripped my major quad muscles almost in two, aged about 15. This was the killer, really. I now have dents in my thighs where there should be smooth muscle, and my legs above my knees are a mass of scar tissue from repeated pulls and tears that occur all too easily as a result of the original injury – which of course went untreated (well, I was 15, entirely clueless and didn’t actually tell anyone I’d hurt myself).

I took up cycling a few years back to give my legs relief from five-a-side football, a sport I love but just can’t play any more. For three years, everything was dandy – then I overdid it for two or three weekends on the trot two summers ago and the pain in my upper quads just didn’t go away. I visited two different physios – both of whom work with professional sportspeople – and both were completely puzzled. Then I discovered David Bolt.

David is extraordinary. The first thing you notice about him is that he has a self-confidence bordering on arrogance and that he declaims, rather than speaks, in a very smooth, actorish way. His modus operandi is to rubbish all other physios and tell you that only he can understand and resolve your problem. It’s a bit like going to see a physiotherapy cult leader. He’s even released a CD of his own songs (including the excruciating ‘Ride me’, which isn’t about cycling, I can tell you) and his treatment room is littered with signed photos of famous people with messages like “David, Only you could make my leg better. Thanks, Roger”. That’s Roger Moore, by the way. There’s another one from Margaret Thatcher.

The thing is, David is probably right when he says that only he can understand and treat your problem. He’s brilliant. He’s not cheap (I would joke that he cost me an arm and a leg, but that would be a little unfair, as well as being a crap joke), but three sessions with him is probably worth ten with somebody else, so it all kind of works out in the end.

He was the only physio to spot the dents in my thighs, for example, and he did so immediately. Up to that point, I had just assumed that everybody’s legs were like this. He then told me that massage damages muscles, that chiropractic is crackpot nonsense and that my problem was mainly in my mind – not my legs. I refused to believe him, but he said it so often that I eventually succumbed. Like I said, there’s something of the cult leader about him and there were times I wondered whether I hadn’t actually gone to see a hypnotist. No matter, because where other physios had failed over several distressing months, David succeeded in a couple of visits and a matter of weeks. The pain just went away. Perhaps it is all in my mind after all.

NB: I haven’t written this blog to promote David’s practice, but if you get in touch I’ll gladly pass on his details.

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