Atrophy is cruel…….

Last night, just before I went to bed and for the first time - I looked in the mirror and compared my legs, my ATR leg is so much thinner than my left leg :(

It’s worse because I am Right footed for football (soccer) and since my cruciate ligament op on the left leg a few years back, I knew that I compensated for the left using the right more, eventually something had to give and it did….it’s been a few years, but I recall measuring both calfs with a tape measure and my right calf was about 2cm larger than my left, so to see that same calf looking so weak, it’s amazing how quickly muscles disappear when not used.

So now my right calf looks miserably thin…..I am not worried though, I can’t wait to start building it back up and I have visual goals to reach too….. I think I am gaining momentum to get back into a much more healthier/regular exercise regime and this is the unfortunate kick start to do it and do it right :)

I must be stretching my leg every night when I sleep, the tendon and calf feel tight for a few hours when I get out of bed….. it’s a dull ache rather than any pain, I’d scale it a 4 when it peaks and a 1 once it’s settled….. but I can flex more than the boot allows already…and I can go barefoot and hobble slowly and quite gingerly around the living room so we’re making good progress.

Happy healing all :)

6 Comments so far

  1. eva10 on July 19th, 2012

    Great to see you doing so well Andrew! The atrophy really is a cruel part of the recovery, but certainly makes you appreciate everything our bodies do when healthy. I will never take that for granted ever again. Happy hobbling!! :)

  2. sheena on July 19th, 2012

    Hi Andrew,
    I didn’t realise but our recovery is only about a week apart. Mine being 8 weeks today and also playing badminton. I wouldn’t mind but it was only the second time I had ever played and I had just been snow boarding for a week and was fine…How long are your people saying you need to be in the boot before going to two shoes. I go in again on the 30th when I will be shown how to wean off the boot. Has anyone mentioned driving to you yet?

  3. andrew1971 on July 19th, 2012

    Badminton has a lot to answer for, I only took a step back then went to run forward and it popped :(

    There are two more adjustments scheduled for the boot over 4 wks, that will make it 11weeks.

    Only thing mentioned about driving was not to do it in the boot… and without the boot, you need to be able to perform an emergency stop- then you can assess yourself as ready…I am aiming to be able to do that by wk10 latest.

  4. housemusic on July 19th, 2012

    In my case, the atrophy is in the entire leg, not just the calf. And it is very noticeable :-(
    A visual reminder we are survivors!

  5. normofthenorth on July 19th, 2012

    Andrew, the move you describe is the “classic” one. I used it twice, once for each ATR! If you wanted to load the calf and AT as highly as possible just to test it, that’s what you’d do: get your momentum going backwards, dorsiflex to the limit (i.e., stretch the calf and AT out to full length), then get the calf to pull as hard as you can (trying to change direction).

    It’s far from the only way to tear an AT, but it’s understandably “popular”, once you understand the biomechanics of the AT.

    And badminton, being (a) a sport played in rubber shoes on a smooth floor, with maximum traction to transfer ALL the forces to the AT, and (b) a “fake-out” sport, where what looks like a deep clear can instantly turn into a drop-shot, is a great sport to administer that test. It’s too bad it has such a wimpy image (IMO), at least in North America. I’ve played a little competitive badminton, and it is a very tough sport.

    Ironically, tennis — with much bigger, heavier, stronger equipment and a bigger court — seems like it would place greater strain on our bodies than badminton with its super-light shuttle and racquet. Maybe that’s true for the arms and hands, but not the legs. Most tennis courts fall short of a serious badminton court in providing that crucial “squeaky” traction that applies the last pounds of peak force.

    Similarly, 6-on-6 court volleyball players often look like they’re loafing compared to 2-on-2 beach volleyball players. And aerobically, the edge does have to go to the beach players. But for peak loads applied to the AT, there’s no comparison and the ATRs are almost 100% on the court.

    I like to mention beach-ball superstar and gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, who finally tore one of her ATs while rehearsing (in running shoes on a smooth wood floor) for Dancing With the Stars. NOT an ironic or surprising outcome, once you understand the forces.

  6. andrew1971 on July 19th, 2012

    Edited :) Not sure where that feature is on the dashboard to allow self editing - if you can direct me I’ll switch it on.

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