24 weeks - has been a while since I posted here!

Hadn’t realized quite how long it has been since I last wrote anything here… Think I went through a few bad weeks where I wasn’t making any progress so didn’t feel like I had anything new to write about! And it is frustrating when other people seem to be doing better - even though its great that they are - and shouldn’t really compare as we are all different!
That being said, the leg is getting stronger, but feel like I am never going to be able to do a single heel raise properly on dry land. That frustrating plateau again. Am able to do them quite happily in water (up to below hip level), but on dry land it is a struggle to get even a centimeter off the ground…
But there is definitely more definition in the calf muscle and I can see/feel the muscle flexing. Maybe I am going to be a late bloomer and any day now I’ll suddenly be doing 100 at a time on dry land :)
Am going to the pool a couple of times a week to do several repetitions of single heel raises, plus going down on a step and then raising (forget the proper term for that). And go to the gym on other days to use the bike and treadmill (varying the incline and speed) and doing shorter steps in order to engage the calf. Also doing double heel raises at home, and using the stretchy bands.
And I have been having tennis lessons, which have been great at keeping me motivated and feeling like a ‘real’ person! At first I wore the boot but am out of that now, and my foot work is getting better, although still a little tentative when going for shots that are too far away. Am hoping to start to get over that hesitation at some point soon - although I think a little fear is still healthy for me as I did find myself bouncing around the other day (but since I was fine with that maybe I can continue)! Really don’t want to have to go through this again though so maybe I am being a bit slower than I could be at this point…
Also started having a few hits with friends and some short games where I didn’t run for anything. Is nice to be almost playing again :)
The leg is still stopping me doing certain active things (and I am careful when rough ground or too many people) but for day to day stuff I don’t think about it too much (e.g. will get up out of a chair and swivel on it without thinking about it until afterwards whereas in earlier days I would be ever so careful how I was placing my feet!).
So actually am not doing too badly :)

Still a bit scrawny tho!
Legs - start Aug 2014

14 week update…

Having read a few posts recently about overdoing it, I think I may have joined that club! Its now over 14 weeks since injury and I finally started driving again! (Probably delayed longer than I needed, but as it was my right ankle and as I didn’t really need to be driving I decided not to rush into it…) Passing the driving milestone is great :) My friends have been wonderful getting me places but having the ability to come and go as I want is wonderful, and so I have been driving into the gym every day, getting a bit carried away with the re-found freedom!
I’ve been alternating between the pool (walking up and down doing heel raises at each end (single legged at the deeper end), and starting to do heel drops/raises on the steps) and the gym (30 mins with a slight incline on the treadmill at a fairly slow pace so that can concentrate on not limping, 15 mins on the hand bike and 10 mins on the stationary bike - which was a bit scary at first without the boot as my ankle felt kind of wobbly). And my heel raises in the pool are getting better, but I think I am also trying harder to push off when walking the lengths and find that I start getting cramp in my calf muscle sooner - which I suppose proves that I am doing something!
Went to the cinema tonight and my tendon felt kind of tight - and cold - so I think tomorrow will be a day off from any leg exercises.
Oh and there is probably about a 1 inch difference in circumference between my good and bad calf. Unfortunately I didn’t measure it when I first came out of the boot, so I can’t compare with that, but the bad leg does feel a little more solid - whilst obviously still being all wobbly in comparison with the good…
So I think progress is being made, slowly, just wish the tendon didn’t feel as tight as it does as that is getting boring…

13 weeks gone and slow and steady…

Can’t believe that its now been 3 months! (And didn’t post last week as didn’t feel like there was much to report!)
Am mostly in 2 shoes - and only put the boot on for tennis lessons, some gym exercises and some evenings out at pubs where I am not sure how busy its going to be…
Have been using the pool at the gym a couple of times a week, walking up and down the lengths for about an hour and doing 10 - 15 heel raises at each end, just on the bad leg at the deeper end! Today I also used the steps to do double heel raises so that my heel dipped below neutral. Leg was hurting a bit towards the end and felt shaky when I got out but feel like I am improving: the single legged heel raises were easier, and my stride was better, with a definite roll through and push-off on the bad leg.
Had my first NHS physio appointment at the end of last week where he checked strength / flexibility and said was much better than last week, plus gave me a few more exercises to do. Not a lot really happened in it other than that, and I am not getting to do many exercises with the physio (again its all different depending on where you are / who you see!) but he did explain that the tightness I feel is because the collagen is still all mixed up and needs to be smoothed out by the weight bearing strengthening exercises etc, so that it will move more smoothly (although he obviously explained it better than that!)… so that is good to know.
So I am in the 2-footed plateau period, feeling like there is progress but its small steps rather than the great advances of moving from NWB to PWB and FWB… but still, progress is progress :)

11 weeks and in the pool…

Am now at week 11 non-op and have used the pool at the gym for physio today and last Friday. For about 45 mins I walked up and down the length of the pool, doing 10 heel raises at each end. The walking wasn’t too bad (although had a tendency to move away from the edge so had to keep holding on) and I really concentrated on my gait and having an equal amount of time on each foot.  On Friday it was noticeable that I am not pushing off on the bad foot, so I tried to roll through on that more, definitely lifting up my heel and trying to put weight on the toes before lifting it off the ground, and today it was much better.

Heel raises were a little disappointing on Friday as I tried to do more with the bad foot and that’s when it became obvious how much (almost all) of the work is being done by the good foot :(  So at each end I tried to put more of my body weight on the bad side.  Could really feel it in my calf. Today it was still hard raising myself up using mostly my bad leg, but coming down on was a little slower/more controlled… Calf still feels painful when I do it - where have all my muscles gone!?!?

(Could do with a bit more reading material on the walls, as there are only so many times you can read about ‘showering before using the pool’ and ‘being careful not to slip’ before that gets a bit boring!)

Have been trying to walk more in 2 shoes every day, and am still doing the strengthening exercises at home (using towel/resistance band, and double heel raises) but am trying to decide whether to increase my physio visits - will see what he says when I go next week - but am still going privately as NHS physio dept has not been in touch and having tried several times to call and no-one has answered I am almost giving up on them!

Friends are still being very helpful driving me to the shops and gym etc, but I would love to be able to drive myself… I haven’t needed to rush it so far, and as its a right ATR I want to be sure that I will be safe on the road, but I feel like I now have enough strength/confidence to use the accelerator/brake and do an emergency stop. But, I had a letter from the hospital, detailing the checkup I went to two weeks ago, which at the end said “patient can return to driving when she is able to tiptoe”! This seems (to me) a little excessive as I don’t drive normally putting the weight through my toes but through the ball of my foot, and I can do that now! Have rung up to query this (especially as the doctor only saw me for about 5 minutes) and will talk to my physio too. I am also not sure if I need to talk to my insurers about the injury - has anyone else in the UK done this before driving again?

10 1/2 weeks - more walking and skinny calf!

Mini update at week 10 and a half (although there is not too much different to report…).

I walked into town and back yesterday, unbooted / without a stick, which was the longest walk I’ve done for a while (was out for about 2 hours) and have to say that I felt a bit wobbly in both legs about half way through.  Did think about getting a taxi back but just took it slow and steady and was fine.  It involved a lot of downhill on the way in and uphill on the way back, but I negotiated both ok with only a brief sideways positioning of the bad foot at one point when it got really steep (as I didn’t want to stress the tendon too much).  So I feel it was an achievement and although it ached a bit in the evening it was fine this morning.

Elevating is still important as I was out Tuesday night (in the boot) and had my leg down all evening and when I got home I would swear that my bad foot was twice the size of the other! (slight exaggeration but it was noticeably puffy), but it quickly went down when I elevated.  I also find that my bad leg gets really cold at times - does anyone else?

Ankle still feels very tight, but reading other blogs at around this stage that seems normal, and it does feel looser after I have done the towel strengthening exercises.  Have been doing more seated calf raises with my weight on my knees in order to help my standing double calf raises, and I am getting a little higher off the ground with those (although most of the work is still being done by my good leg and its obviously nothing like normal height on the bad).  Am trying to believe that a little bit of muscle is coming back but the bad calf is still incredibly skinny, but that is just going to take exercise, time and patience!
Legs 10 half weeks

10 weeks today! Officially updating status to 2 shoes!!!

This is my 10 weeks posting (can’t believe it has really been that long although sometimes it seems much much longer!), and right now I feel like I am in a good place with my recovery!  (Plus I was much better at wheelchair tennis today than last week :))

I’ve been spending more and more time in 2 shoes and feeling much more comfortable in them.  Although I’m still in the boot for crowded events (pub/cinema etc) and for some exercise (wheelchair tennis/some gym work), but for general walking around the house and “safe” outside events I am in my shoes.  And everyone who has seen me in the boot for the last two and a half months and now back into 2 shoes is very impressed!

My shoe occasionally feels a little tight round the heel and the back of my leg still feels incredibly tight, especially if I’ve been elevating my leg for a while, so I am still sleeping in the boot so that it will feel ok in the morning (and partly concern about doing something bad to the ankle overnight) but am looking to see if there is anything I can get that is less cumbersome than the boot that will still keep my ankle at 90 degrees!

Walked to the local shops on Saturday, unbooted!  Something which would normally take me about 15 minutes (even in the boot) and it took over half an hour, so this is reminiscent of my first outings with the boot and crutches all those weeks ago…  Am definitely still limping but feel like I am putting more weight onto the bad foot for longer and my good foot is going further ahead of the bad foot, so my gait is getting a little better.  Do get some pain in the side of my leg, but think that is just where the muscle is starting to rebuild itself.

Am doing the towel resistance exercises at home (now up to 10 sets of 10 reps at a time) two or three times a day.  Also attempted standing double heel raises on Saturday and wow, so little strength there!  Barely lifted my heel off the floor.  I can feel the muscle/tendon trying (bless its little heart) but nothing is really happening.  Did get a bit down about that, but tried again on Sunday and was able to lift a little higher and for a few more reps, and even better today!

I am also trying to think of my recovery from a starting point of the day after the injury (Feb 25th) rather than comparing myself to pre-injury fitness!  As if I look back to the 25th, then I have made brilliant progress…  And from a mental point of view this really helped me get over the non-heel raise disappointment.  Not sure how well it will last through the 2 shoe plateau, but am going to give it a go :)

9 weeks - and 3 more days in 2 shoes…

A little update on my 2 shoed progress after a few more days in them.

Went to the physio on Weds, which involved massage again (which is always good) and he agreed with the strengthening exercises the NHS physio gave me last Friday.  Plus said to do more work at the gym on building up the other muscles in my legs.  Also some exercises for my toes to work those tendons - which at first I didn’t think could be done even with my good foot, but having tried a few times they may be possible! - these are to press the big toe down and try and lift the other toes, and vice versa…  So I will be doing these exercises by myself and going back to the physio again when its stronger.  He did say that shouldn’t ‘work through the pain’ as at this point it is still possible to cause micro tears in the repairing tendon!

(Its strange reading on this site all the different experiences that people have with the various professionals, and really good to be able to see what other people are/have been doing by this point and work out what else you can try yourself!)

Went to the pub Tues night un-booted, but felt very wary with everyone milling around and not really paying attention (and had to move at one point so that my bad leg was better protected between some tables), so when I went out on Weds night I was back in the boot, which felt safer but also a step backwards - but right now safety wins!

Walking round the block today I realised what was feeling wrong about my gait, and its that I have no push off power on the bad foot (which is fairly obvious at this point but these things take a little while to sink in :)), so even though I am rolling it from heel to toe I have already put the good foot down to take the weight.  Plan on starting to use the pool at the gym next week for some supported walking practice which will hopefully help.  And at the weekend I will also be starting on the two legged heel raises so will see how it goes putting full weight on my toes!

Am still frustrated by the slowness (and long journey ahead), but have some very supportive friends who are helping me get through this, and who say I am doing well.  So I need to believe them - which I sort of do, most of the time, as even I can see progress - maybe I just need to stop thinking so much!!!  :)

And thank you to all of you who have commented on my previous posts, as its good to know that everyone who is ahead in time got through this… and to have support from them and from those who are coming up to this point…

9 weeks and 2 shoes!!!

I am now 9 weeks post injury (non-op) and am officially venturing out in 2 shoes!  And I have to say that whilst it feels great to start leaving the boot at home, it is also incredibly frustrating at how slow I am without it…

I had read on here that it feels like a major step backwards going to 2 shoes, but hadn’t appreciated the reality of it.  In my boot I am fast, getting places at almost my old speed and not really thinking much any more about whether I would re-injure myself in it.  Without it I am back to snails pace (walked to a postbox which is about 2 mins round trip and it took me about 15!) and constantly having to make myself think about how I am placing my feet, and its scary (and I am tired of feeling scared about re-rupture)…  So yesterday was a bit of a down day.

Coming to terms with it a bit more today (and the sun is shining which helps).  Went to the gym this morning - in my boot as haven’t seen my physio yet  to find out what gym things I should be doing (but did stationary bike and weights - and some leaning back rope thing on my heels which I totally forget the name of) - but came home in 2 shoes and plan on staying out of the boot for the rest of today as the more I walk around in 2 shoes the better it’ll get…  And my friends are very impressed to see me walking bootless again!  And so am I :)

8 1/2 weeks and doctors checkup!

This morning I went back to the Orthopedic dept at the hospital for my 8+ week checkup.  Felt ridiculously on edge about it (maybe because I feel like I’ve been making progress but the last time I felt like that and went to see the other physio I wasn’t as impressive as I thought I was!), but all is good :)  He made me kneel on the bed and did the Thomson test on both legs and I could see my bad foot definitely move…  so it has healed and now has to get strong again… (which I know is still going to be a long and careful process…)

Was a bit of a fleeting visit by the doctor, but then the NHS physio came in to do an assessment.  He pushed against my bad foot to see how much range of movement it had and was impressed at how easily it went into neutral, so he doesn’t want me to do any stretching exercises just strengthening ones: so a week of doing towel resistance starting with 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps 2 or 3 times a day, building up to 10 sets over the course of the week…  Then will be double heel lifts from a flat surface, and then single heel lifts - when I have the push off strength!  (And he demonstrated normal calf strength by pushing against my good foot with me pushing back and him being unable to move my foot, and then showed me on the bad side where there was no resistance on my part!  The poor thing…)

I am cleared to keep walking in 2 shoes, but to keep the boot on for out of doors until I feel comfortable/stronger, and have to try to not develop too much of a limp which is going to be hard until have push off strength again (suggested practicing walking holding onto kitchen counter to get the motion right).  Doctor said I could stop sleeping in the boot, but the physio thought I should keep it for another week until I get a bit more strength back, and as I normally move around a fair bit during the night I think I will do as the physio says.  (It is difficult sleeping in it, but I think the first night I try without it I probably won’t get any sleep as I’ll be worrying too much!!)

So this is all good - and will enjoy the moment before I slow down again with the careful 2 footed walking :)

8 weeks gone!

Is now 8 full weeks since ATR and I have been walking around the house a little more without the boot on and my leg actually feels like it belongs to me again!  My limp is much more noticeable without the boot, and am obviously slower, but I don’t feel as wobbly as I did a few days ago.  Am still not doing it for too long and have a mini-panic if I get too far away from the boot… but am hoping that will go away with time…  Am back to the orthopedic dept at the hospital on Friday and will hopefully get official permission to be in 2 shoes then (although I imagine I will be in the boot for a while longer when I am out of the house).

Still doing ROM exercises several times a day, and have been going to the gym for upper body work and wheelchair tennis, so am keeping active which is good (even if its not quite the same as 2 footed tennis!).

Am thinking of getting some sort of ankle support for when I am officially back in 2 shoes as I do worry about being completely unprotected, and also about having nothing to let other people know that there is something wrong and that I will be slower at moving out of the way etc (the boot is a great giveaway for that!).  Did anyone else get anything for when they were first out of the boot?