Week 9: cast comes off, biking begins (is that okay?)

 The long awaited removal of the cast occurred eight weeks after surgery.  The doc said things look okay and cleared me to wear the boot or shoes as I desire.  His main admonition is  not to do anything that would put stretching force on the tendon.  Clearly not body weight.  That is what the boot is for…to prohibit ankle joint flexing beyond 90 degrees.  Essentially, the clearance to wear shoes is at my own risk.  Other bloggers here have made it clear that there are real risks to reinjury at this stage in recovery.

 My first day in the boot was not ideal.  I have an office job, so he said just walk as much as needed.  Well, my daughter’s Indiana University freshman orientation was the next day and I went.  This involved a fair amount of walking around campus, but I didn’t want to miss it.  Although I got tired, it sure was a lot better than it would have been on crutches!  The next day my hips were sore from a lot of walking with legs of different lengths.  My boot has a taller heel than the shoes I was wearing.

At home I have been wearing running shoes most of the time.  Since my ankle is still kind of big, I have been using an old pair of my sons shoes that are one size larger than my normal size.  Although it is slow getting around since I cannot bend my joint past 90 degrees, it feels great to be out of the boot for a few hours each day.

The doctor cleared me to ride an indoor bike, provided I don’t bend the ankle joint or put much force on the tendon.  I was relieved to hear this since I bike a lot.  However, about mid-week I got this crazy idea that I could ride my road bike with the boot on.  I would just take the clipless pedal off and put a platform pedal on.  I wouldn’t be breaking the doc’s guidance because I wouldn’t be bending the joint…it will be protected in the boot.  Likewise, if I was to crash for some reason, I think the boot would provide pretty good protection for the tendon.

I gave it a provisional try on Thursday night for a couple hundred yards and all seemed well.  Yesterday I went on a leisurely 15 mile ride and again, all seemed fine.  There was a little heel pain after awhile, but it didn’t seem like an issue.  After taking off the boot and sleeping on it, still, all seemed okay.  Today I pushed a good bit more, going on a 40 mile ride and averaging about 17 mph.  I am pushing some with the left leg, but the right leg is doing the lion’s share of the work.  At the end of 40, it was pretty tired.

Does anybody have experience to suggest I shouldn’t be doing this riding with my boot on?

Hours after the cast came off (8 weeks post-op)Biking today...halfway through 40 miles.

 Hours after the cast came off (8 weeks post-op)                  Biking today…halfway through 40 miles.

10 Responses to “Week 9: cast comes off, biking begins (is that okay?)”

  1. Someone else couldn’t wait to get back on the bike, either:


    What is it about bikes that makes us crazy?


  2. Someone else couldn’t wait to get back on the bike, either:


    What is it about bikes that makes us crazy?

  3. Nice work John! I’m 2.5 weeks post-op and PWB, and getting itchy feet to start riding. I was planning on getting an indoor trainer to put my commuter on, but maybe I’ll just swap the flat pedals from my full-sus on instead…

  4. Man, I am impressed! I’m in the boot myself and can’t see myself riding with this thing on. Can’t wait to get it off though.

  5. Hey John
    They tell me let pain be my guide. Well since I have no real pain I can’t tell how much is too much. Tech told me 4 hours not an 8 hour day @ work. It’ll have been 9 weeks in the cast come Thursday when I get this F*cker off OMG! I am so ready to get to work on getting back to running. Planning on swimming first. Thursday after I get the cast off hubby is taking me to buy a bike, I can’t wait. So, you are riding with the boot? How’s it going?
    I so want to just walk! Feels good, but have no idea how weak my ankle will be after the cast comes off.

  6. riding with the boot isn’t too much different, although I bike a lot, so I am very comfortable on two wheels. It works pretty well because I am using a clipless pedal for my good leg. this allows me to “pull up” on that side, taking the necessary load off of the bum leg.

    Good luck.

  7. One word crazy !!! I couldn’t see doing that I have a hard time with my shoes. You must have road biked your whole life.

  8. nice post :)

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