Charley Horse anyone?

Anyone experience an increase in charley horses in the injured leg?  Just lately I am finding that I am waking in the middle of the night with a charley horse in my left leg. It seems to happen when I try and stretch my leg out and then wham! the pain sets in.  I am doing my heel raises and stretches each day and I walk at least 4-5 miles each day.  Nothing different in my diet.  This only just started in the past week so I am not sure why or how to prevent this.   I am going to stretch prior to going to bed in the hope that might help but if anyone has any suggestions, I would love to know.

3 month follow up

Saw my OS today for another follow up.  It’s been a little over three months since surgery and I am fully in 2 shoes, back to work full-time and going to PT.  I still have a sizeable bump where the tendon was stitched and I still have enough swelling each day but my dr. was telling me that’s normal for just 3 months out. He said the bump will flatten, but it will take time and it may not flatten completely. Not so sure I’m happy hearing that.  Overall he’s very happy with my progress and said I can move toward building more strength in PT using therabands, but still advises me against any real stretching. Plus, he said I should continue with lifts in my shoes for now.  I can walk, bike (though no spinning) and swim. No running or jumping at this point in time.  My ROM is pretty much all back to normal so the order is to build the strength.

Of course, although my injured leg is weaker, I actually prefer the size of my calf on that leg and jokingly asked if I could put my good leg in the boot for a few weeks to see if that calf would shrink too! :)

I’m walking more each day getting at least 10,000 steps throughout the day. I take the bus to work as I’m not ready to deal with the subway crowds and the steps and so instead of transferring buses I walk the second half of the trip, or approximately a mile.  The more I walk the easier it gets and I’m trying to walk a little longer each time. I have almost no limp and can walk the mile in about 20 minutes now. Not quite NYC speed, but since I’ve shaved off 10 minutes I’m quite happy with that.

I am able to do a couple standing heel raises now, though any attempt to walk on my tip toes is met with complete failure. Not even a single step yet. My tendon is still pretty tight, but my PT showed me how to massage it better and I’m finding that that has really helped me a lot so I make sure to do this every day.

As I look back at where I was just a few weeks ago and where I am now, I am happy with my forward progress.

5000+ steps

I’m finally managing over 5000 steps a day now, which is a big accomplishment for me. Just a few short weeks ago I was averaging just a bit over 1000. My pace is picking up just a little and I can now walk 18 city blocks without stopping which makes me very happy as I used to walk all over NYC.  I am also now wearing real shoes in the office. I am thrilled with the progress I see so far.

My PT has me now do 10 minutes on the bike with no resistance to warm up, 3 x 10 seated heel and toe raises, walking a pretend tight rope and 3 x 10 step ups with my injured leg on the step. Ended with massage, ROM and icing.  I’m to do all this at home as well a few times a day.

I hadn’t realized how tough all of that was for me until I had to do it. Trying to walk as if on a tightrope was the hardest as I don’t have good balance. I could not put my foot right in front of the other one, and had to settle for slightly off to the side. I know balance will come back, so for now I am careful when walking or standing still.  Seated heel raises are also still tough and though I try to do this standing I can’t yet do that without holding on to something, so I still have a long way to go on building up my calf muscle.

I have also moved to using the bus to get to and from work. I was worried about stepping in and out and whether or not I could get a seat because I knew standing up for 40 minutes commute would be difficult, so I made my husband join me on my maiden voyage. But it’s been working out and I get on at stops where I can get a seat fairly easy. Plus, I can walk part of the way and then hop on the bus so this makes me feel like I’m getting closer to where I was before ATR.

Still have a long way to go, but each day things get a little easier.

11 weeks in

11 Weeks in and I have finally started PT. I know this is late compared to many, but my OS didn’t want me starting until this month since I stretched my tendon when I took a really bad fall during PWB. I’ve been walking in two shoes (sneakers) with heel lifts in each since Labor Day, but switch to real shoes when I am in the office (also with lifts).  Pain is not so bad, but after walking for a bit, my heel will hurt, my tendon feels tight and my foot will swell.  Standing for too long in one place gets painful far too quickly for my liking. I basically have no calf strength though that is slowly improving. I don’t use my crutches at all which I’m really happy about - but I’ve had to compensate right now by taking much smaller steps than I normally would.  I found that whenever I took longer steps, I started to develop either a stronger limp or an inclination to turn my injured foot inward as it was less painful that way.  I am not yet to the point of pushing off with my toes as I walk but I practice this at home with exaggerated movements. (Read that tip on one of the blog’s here and so I adopted it myself!)

PT today was a run-through of what happened and where I am. Then an examination of  my tendon and my ROM. My PT was surprised at my ROM as I have regained nearly all of it - just no real strength behind it. I have been doing passive motions for weeks now (circles, reverse circles, Alphabet, flexing, etc.) so the ROM did not surprise me. She spent most of today massaging the calf, tendon and foot to break up scar tissue. Hurt just a bit, but felt good as I could feel things loosening up. We then did some front, back and side movements against the pressure of her hands.  In addition to what I’m doing already at home I’m to do seated heel raises (3 x 10) and seated toe raises (3 x 10).  PT is again on Wednesday and we’ll start working on building the calf muscle… she mentioned we’ll most likely start with the bike.

All in all, I continue to see progress and am glad to be moving forward. We go on vacation in the middle of October and so I’m hoping that by then I’m walking pretty normal.

Walked a half mile in my shoes

Today was a small accomplishment - I managed to walk 13 city blocks tonight in one stretch! Approximately a little over a half mile, roughly 1300 steps. Not a record breaking time as it took me 25 minutes to do this including having to stop for a few red lights along the way, but I did not sit down until reaching the end.  It was a great feeling.  Why 13 blocks? Well, that was the distance from my office to my husband’s office and this was a walk I did many times pre-injury.  We were in the habit of meeting up when we finished work and walk all the way home together.  Tonight we took a cab for the remainder of the trip as that would have been another few miles, but I’m looking forward to the day when we can resume walking all the way home in the evenings.  When we did get home I had to immediately ice and elevate my leg as it seems I had a lovely swollen  ”cankel”  for my effort.  I’m getting used to the swelling, but hope that that will subside in time as I continue to progress.

2 shoes!

Like all of you before me, just as I got comfortable FWB in the boot with no crutches, it’s time to move on to 2 shoes and start all over again!  Those first few steps certainly were strange and it still is somewhat strange.  Definitely more painful on the top of my foot and the heel than the boot was. Plus, I find it a bit more tiring by the end of the day that I end up limping toward the end.  Still experiencing swelling which isn’t helping things and I hope will eventually go away.  I’ve been easing in the two shoes and only doing this at home as I strap on my sneakers with lifts in each shoe.  While I can tie the right shoe normally, I had to open the laces up quite a bit on the left foot.  I am icing and elevating it at least once during the day in the office and then again at night.  The tendon is still tight, but at least it now feels thicker and sturdier than just a few weeks ago. I was really worried it was too thin and would not have the strength for me to walk on it, but that was quickly proven wrong.  And, though I’m not walking far yet, I am tracking the number of steps per day and am building that up gradually each day.  My worry now is the decent sized bump I have right where the tendon was stitched together. I hope this will, in time, go away. Otherwise, my days of nice shoes may be severely limited!

My plan for this long weekend is to wear the boot to work one more day tomorrow, but over the coming weekend transition fully to 2 shoes with the plan to return to work next week sans boot. It might have to be sneakers, but I’ve picked up some shoes and boots with sensible, sturdy and safe heels with the hope to use them instead.

Definitely seeing progress on FWB

So, I’m a week into FWB and although I was supposed to be crutchless, it has taken me until today to get used to that an walk fairly well in the boot alone.  I was having real real difficulty managing the boot without any support so I decided I would start with the single crutch on the opposite side. It gave me a bit of comfort knowing that I had something to help with the balance, plus I felt like I could walk more upright and with less of a duck-limp-gait.  But, each night, after work, I’d walk around the apartment without the crutch, taking slow, deliberate steps and paying attention to how I walked.

Today, which is one week later, I feel like I am finally mostly comfortable in the boot. I say mostly only because I don’t walk at what I would consider a normal pace, but I can see progress. And even my husband has told me that he can see a big difference in how I am walking.  I owe a lot to these pages because every time I got frustrated I’d search the blogs and re-read all the tips and tricks that have been posted.  And then try and implement those tips on my own walk. It was encouraging to hear how others got past the mental block, managed the awkwardness of being in the boot and trusting yourself to stand on the injured leg. Everything kept me going.

What also helped me was to play around with different sneakers (even trying my husband’s sneaker since we are similar sizes), heel lifts, even ups, etc. on my good leg until I found the best combination that kept me level and was easy to walk in.  My winning combination turned out to be my own sneaker with two sets of heel lifts and an orthotic. Although the even-up helped level me a bit, I think it was creating a drag on my walk and so it made it more difficult for me to lift the right foot.  Removing that and putting all the lifts inside the sneaker made all the difference. Of course my heel is near the top of the sneaker, but it does not slip out so I don’t worry about that.

And, if all continues to go well, I was told I can move to two shoes (with lifts in each) in a week!  I plan on trying this out over Labor Day weekend.  Now that I’m back at work full time it would be really great if I can start September bootless!

Thanks again to everyone who posted in the past, posts now and comments all over these blogs.  This really has been a wonderful resource for me in my road to recovery!

First Steps… FWB

So, at today’s follow-up appt, my OS said it’s time to ditch the crutches and go FWB in the boot. I knew this was coming and had been trying to get my mind to catch up with what I needed to do for a few days now. I could stand in the boot but still could not pick up the good right leg to take a step. We talked about it along with where I go next. He wants me to only be in the boot for 10 days-14 days at most and then go to 2 shoes. As he put it, when I’m comfortable in the boot, switch to the shoes.  I can wear either a shoe with a lift in it or a shoe with a small heel, just no flats.  So, you know what that means…. shoe shopping! :)

Because I stretched my tendon when I fell and it’s still not as thick or strong as he would like it, he wants me to continue with active stretching only.  I have been doing that and have seen great progress doing just that.

Anyway, after getting home from work tonight, I did finally get some steps in the boot sans crutches!  Jerky small steps, but steps just the same. I think I will still use my crutches getting to/from work tomorrow, but tomorrow during the day and over the weekend keep practicing my walk.  I’m having a little trouble trying to “roll through” the step but I know I can get that working right.

Thanks to everyone for the tips and tricks to get over the mental block. I’m grateful to each of you sharing your story and giving me encouragement to get through this.

Just another week

I’ve got another week to go on PWB and have been reading a lot about making the move to FWB which I am hopeful my dr. will tell me I am ready for when I see him on the 14th.  But as I write this I find that FWB is really a frightening thought for me.  There are times already when I have to walk NYC sidewalks that I have felt people come just a little too close to me, even though they can clearly see I’m using crutches.  Going out the other day I was almost bowled over by a delivery man and that was in my own building’s lobby!  If the crutches are not enough of a visual cue to people coming toward me to maybe be a little careful, what will it be like without them?

I am also very afraid of putting more weight on my foot. When I take my boot off, my repaired tendon feels thin and small in comparison to my uninjured one. Is that normal? Can it really be strong enough? I know I will find out more when I see my dr. next week, but these thoughts go through my head every day. I do try to stay positive throughout all of this, but it definitely wears on me.  It seems like it’s still a long way until I can feel normal again.

I’m just so glad to have found this forum and know that I’m not alone in any of this. Reading and seeing the progress of everyone definitely helps a great deal.  I thank each one of you for sharing your story.

PWB at last

OK, so my dr. told me I could go to PWB tomorrow, but I decided I was ready to jump the gun and started tonight. I wanted to get in some practice before having to really use it tomorrow. I’m basically back at work in the office every day, though I am on slightly reduced hours to avoid rush hour crunch time, but it’s still 6 hours in the day. Good to get back in the swing of things. Even better to be able to put the boot down on the ground. Still trying to get the hang of it all. I did even up my right leg, but find it all very strange feeling. At times I want to just return to NWB, but I know that to get to the goal of 2 shoes I have to resist that urge and get through the strange feeling of moving heel to toe in the boot.

I was practicing in the apt but my husband thought it would be good if we went out to dinner to one of our favorite restaurants. It’s just half a block away from our apt, but that walk felt like it was miles! I do have to say that although my foot started to swell during dinner, it was great to go out and feel normal. We had a wonderful dinner and then it was back to walking home again. By the time we got home, I felt completely exhausted!

First thing I did was remove the boot, elevate and ice it. Swelling wasn’t all that bad, but it just felt good to get it out of the boot. I find that nighttime is my favorite time since I can take my foot out of the boot so much so that I sometimes go to bed early just to be able to do that!  Anyway, here’s hoping I get the hang of PWB soon as I’m anxious to keep moving forward.