Week 13: Always has been a lucky number for me!

I got engaged on a Friday the 13th and married on the 13th the following April…24 years ago!

I had my first visit with the physical therapist today.  He only provided encouragement, suggesting that while the tendon is thick, as expected, the motion I have is very good for this stage of recovery.  He measured the dorsiflexion as 10 degrees on the recovering leg and 15 degrees on the normal one.  My walking gait is virtually normal.

He massaged the leg for a bit.  I spent a few minutes on the Biomechanical Ankle Platform System (BAPS) with the smallest hemisphere.  I stood for awhile on one leg.  Al l-in-all I didn’t learn or do much.  No judgement yet, just a pretty slow start. 

The only exercises I was given to do at home: 

1.  balance on one leg until fatigue, several times a day

2.  sitting with dumbell or other weight on my knee/thigh and do toe raises (I did this a couple of weeks ago with about 20 pounds …probably move up to 30-40 pounds now)

3.  Stretch the hamstring, calf and Achilles with a towel or similar thing while sitting on the floor.

I only did my weekend rides, with the boot, this week.  I rode fifty miles on Saturday, even contesting the sprint at the halfway point.  My fitness is still a work  in progress, because I was pretty wiped at the end.   I rode 30 on Sunday at a good pace with a group, although still carrying some muscle fatigue from the day before.

Another indicator of my fitness is my heart rate on these moderate rides.  I compared the 50 mile Saturday ride to the same ride early in the season last year:  the last two weeks I am about 20 beats per minute higher as an average for the whole ride.  This week I spent over 10 minutes of each ride at the heart rate I average during 1 1/2 hour mountain bike races (160 bpm), compared to none to 2 minutes last year.  This may not be the best training regimen since I should be rebuilding my base fitness, but it has been fun. 

The big question now:  to boot or not to boot while riding?  The therapist was not really convicted one way or the other…finally opting for the conservative, “let’s wait a little.”  I think I will be putting SPD pedals on my bike and doing solo rides since they are a bit safer.  I will be using SPD pedals since they have adjustable release tension and I can make the left one feather light.

I have continued using the Cryo cuff to ice my ankle.  It always feels great after  spending an hour or two in it, so I will certainly continue this, along with the recommended therapy.

2 Responses to “Week 13: Always has been a lucky number for me!”

  1. I had my first PT session yesterday at just over 6 weeks post op. The physio actually instructed me to start riding without the boot, using a flat pedal, and applying as much force as feels comfortable.
    I guess it makes sense - essentially when you are riding with ‘proper’ technique your tendon is always in a reasonably protected position - from neutral to slightly plantar flexed. At the very top of your pedal stroke you may be slightly dorsiflexed, but you’re probably not applying much downward pressure, just sweeping the pedal through.

    For an experienced cyclist like you, the difficult partwill probably be resisting the temptation of all-out sprints and standing hill-climbs of 10% grades - i.e. the fun bits!
    While the physio said that I could cycle for fitness , despite it being a sports rehab place I don’t know if she really realises that bike fitness for a guy like you or I involves intervals training and sustained max HR efforts. I can spin the cranks over, but would have problems putting enough power down to get to 180 bpm…
    So I think I’ll do some gentle ‘rehab’ riding without the boot, and still keep the boot for going hard until it feels comfortable riding without.
    As far as flats vs SPDs vs Looks, I think it will be more about foot position on the pedal rather than release tension. If you are comfortable pedalling without the boot with your foot in the normal position (as opposed to in a more mid-foot position), my own feeling is the release tension won’t be a problem. If anything you may want it firm as you don’t want to put your injured foot down first!
    Best of luck, your tales and photos are a source of inspiration and encouragement to many!

  2. I commuted to work this morning without the boot…yahoo! It felt a bit weird without the boot at first. I didn’t end up putting the SPD’s pedals on. I put the Speedplay pedal back on the left side and was very comfortable getting in and out of it. My ankle is plenty strong enough at this point for the twisting motion. I was a little skittish about clipless pedal issues from some other posts I had read, but I think they may have been much earlier in recovery.

    I notice the reduced flexibility between 3 and 7 clock positions in the crank rotation. I “ankle” slightly in this part of the stroke while pedaling, so the limitations on dorsiflexion show up. However, I can think of little better than this repeated cycling motion to gain flexibility.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-Spam Image

Powered by WP Hashcash