Patient Profile: Bill Zierke
About Bill Zierke
Bill Zierke doesn’t know exactly how he was injured. It was on a Saturday in October, 2008. He was walking out of a friend’s house down the back step and bumped his heel. Bill said he didn’t fall, but the pain was severe.
Bill waited until Monday for the pain to subside. When it didn’t, he went to his regular clinic and had an X-ray taken. There were no obvious breaks, and his provider suggested physical therapy.
His wife, Elaine, had some past experience with Achieve Physical Therapy, and the couple has known two of the Achieve therapists, Steve and Stefanie McCoy, for years. Elaine called Stefanie to see what could be done to help her husband and they made an appointment.
Bill, still hoping this was a temporary setback, tried to go bowling. Bill is not just a man who likes to bowl; he is one of the first inductees to the La Crosse Area United States Bowling Congress Association’s Hall of Fame. Bill and Elaine’s son, Dick, owns Pla-Mor Lanes in La Crosse. So bowling isn’t just a pastime for Bill, it has been a way of life for 60 years. That first night out after his injury, Bill said he couldn’t throw one ball. “It was very painful, and very disappointing,” he said.
The road to recovery started with Bill’s appointment with Achieve physical therapist and certified athletic trainer Steve McCoy. Bill said, “At that point, I couldn’t even move my foot backward and forward, it was too painful.”
“The Physical Therapy process began with evaluating Bill’s overall status including his range of motion, strength, and function. After determining that he had a significant injury to his Achilles’ tendon, we established a plan to help Bill decrease his pain and improve the mobility in his foot and ankle,” Steve said.
Elaine reported that after seeing Bill, Steve came out told her, “We have work cut out for us, but we will get him back to bowling.” Elaine said, “I think that shows determination on the Achieve’s part to get their patients back into the swing of things.”
Steve told Bill that therapy would help, but that he wouldn’t be able to bowl for awhile.
Bill said, “Steve said that his objective was to get me back to bowling, so I was ready to do the work.” Bill did therapy three times a week for 12 weeks, then down to twice a week for a few more weeks. “Steve didn’t let me bowl the whole time,” Bill said.
Bill said that the pain started to subside after about a month of therapy. Steve used a variety of treatments, including elastic bands to help strengthen Bill’s muscles. “As soon as I started doing better, Steve gave me a tighter band to work with. We kept on doing different, tougher things to keep me going. It wasn’t boring, I had a number of different exercises, and every week Steve added something. We even did some exercises specific to bowling using the Wii machine to practice those motions, which was great except for Steve beat me! We also went up and down steps and worked on the treadmill.”
In January, Bill got the news he was waiting for when Steve gave him the all clear to go bowling. The first night was not his best, but it was good to be back.Today, Bill has some numbness, but no pain. He is grateful for the expertise and dedication that Steve provided. “He knew my objective was to get back to bowling, so that’s what we worked on,” said Bill, who is now bowling once or twice a week.