Starting Recovery

The Mental and Emotional Impact

I am a pretty sensitive person who believes in embracing emotions rather than repressing them. With any injury, there are a lot of thoughts that go thru your head. Especially for someone who is active, an AT rupture is greatly going to impact your life. Luckily, I have a lot of people at my gym that have experienced injuries and are there to support me. I was back in the gym 2 days after my injury with modified movements. Regardless, there have been a lot of ups and downs but overall I feel like I have handled the injury well. Based on the circumstances, my Dr believes that this was a freak accident and that there are no underlying health issues that may have caused this. I don’t think that I have fully grasped how tough the recovery is going to be but it has not been too difficult to stay positive.

The Positive

This injury has been a great reminder to slow down. There are things that I want to work on that just have to be put aside (i.e. sailing, salsa dancing, certain types of cardio). Right before the injury, I felt like my attention was being drawn in a dozen different directions and now I have more of an opportunity to focus. At the gym, I now have a chance to focus more on upper body and abs. I have a new appreciation for my body’s abilities and I think that I will find more enjoyment in my accomplishments during recovery.

The Negative

Of course there are  negatives that are very obvious but I wanted to talk about the ones that are taking up my headspace. My Dr did not assign a maximum level of recovery which I greatly appreciate. Considering that I am younger that the typical age for this injury and that there are so many factors in recovery, it seems so arbitrary to give a number; everyone truly is different. BUT let’s say that 90% really is the maximum recovery, is that based off your level of health/fitness at the time of the injury? I know that I am (or was) capable of more than where I was when I was injured. So am I never going to be able to reach a higher level of performance? I know that there is a lot of work down the road and there is not a definitive answer, but it is something that I have been thinking about a lot.

6 Responses to “Starting Recovery”

  1. Hey Andrea-good job keepIng up with the workouts. Re: 90% MAX recovery, I live in KC and over the last couple of years two Chiefs players went down late in the regular season with ATRs and were ready for the start of the season the following year. I’d say there’s no reason someone your age shouldn’t expect to be 100% at some point.

    I ruptured my other leg 20 years ago and couldn’t tell you that it was any weaker than before the injury.

  2. Hi Jeff. Thanks for responding! That’s very encouraging to hear. Of course those athletes probably had the maximum amount of support for recovery but I also don’t need to get back to their level of performance.

    This is more of a vanity question, but were your ankles and calves indefinitely different sizes? I’ve seen a lot of that online. It’s not the end of the world, but I am doing what I can to understand this whole process.

  3. Hi Andrea - 1.5 years after my right foot surgery the right calf was still smaller than the left. And, if you read agnesatr’s blog her injury calf remained smaller even though it seemed to be just as strong as before injury. So don’t be surprised if the injury leg calf size is smaller for a long time. Of course now that I’ve had surgery on my left foot the calves may be the same size! LOL!

    You have a good chance of getting back to 100% - but no guarantees of course. Just remember - avoid any swelling as much as possible - it slows the healing process and can increase the pain level.

  4. HI CSerpent. Thanks for that information! I wonder if body building exercises can help change that? Of course I am months away from even being able to try that. Before surgery, my legs muscles were uneven so I’m trying not to focus on this too much. I even saw that Dwayne Johnson’s are uneven after his achilles tear lol.

    I hadn’t been told that about swelling. I’ll definitely keep that in mind! Mine is minimal, but I could definitely do some more icing to minimize it.

  5. Hey Andrea. Yeah my left calf from my original injury is a little smaller (like CSerpent I’ll have a matching set soon). In 20 years no one ever asked me about it. You’ll be so happy when it’s functional that you won’t even think about how it looks. Besides it’s part of your story now!

    Re: icing my surgeon said not to. According to him it restricts blood flow and healing. I’m sure others have a different philosophy. Definitely keep elevated though.

  6. I haven’t heard that icing restricts healing and blood flow before. I know it reduces swelling and bruising (experienced that MANY times from soccer injuries - LOL!). In the initial phases I’m icing behind the knee rather than on top of the incision area so perhaps that makes a difference. Since I’m in the boot I could ice over the incision directly now but it is easier to ice behind the knee and leave the boot on. The blood supply to the foot gets cooled down enough from the ice behind the knee.

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