Jun 02 2010

bigbill

Weeks 2-4: Life on Crutches

Posted at 5:35 pm under Uncategorized

On my one week anniversary, I had a Dr’s appointment to check on my foot. That was the first time I saw my doctor since prior to my surgery. At the appointment he told me that everything went well with the surgery. He did say that the ends of my tendons were shredded. According to him, this indicated that my rupture was acute not chronic. I still wonder if the massaging of the tendon the guy at the basketball court did had anything to do with it.

He explained again that I was going to be put into a cast and recasted every week until my foot reached 90 degrees (I was splinted with my foot pointed down) at which time I would be transferred to a boot and be full weight bearing. And like that, I was casted up and sent on my way.

So over the next three weeks I had to deal with life in a cast. The 3 biggest annoyances were trying to shower without getting the cast wet, not being able to carry food from the microwave/refrigerator to the table, and going up and down stairs. But as with any obstacle in life, you learn to overcome it… or at least adapt.

After seeing how ineffective plastic grocery bags were at keeping my cast dry, we bought a plastic cover specially made for protecting casts at the drug store. It was a long plastic tube with, with a hard plastic ring and rubber gasket at the top. I referred to it as my leg condom for obvious reasons. It worked like a charm and allowed me to shower standing up. I know I was supposed to be completely none weight bearing at that point, but I cheated and used the bad leg just for balance… my good leg supported 99% of my body weight, I’m sure.

I don’t think I ever found a good way to hold a plate a food while on crutches, but I did manage to get the job done when necessary. Basically the way I managed was to use one crutch as normal, while the other crutch I held only in my armpit; I needed my other hand to hold the plate. The armpit crutch, I would swing out in front of me allowing me to scoot forward while keeping the weight off my bad foot. Not efficient, but got the job done.

Stair climbing was always interesting. I never had a problem going down stairs. I would put both of my crutches in one hand and use the other hand on the railing to support my body weight as I lowered myself to the next step. After reaching that step, I would reset my crutches to the next step below and again support my weight between the railing and crutches to lower myself to the next step. Not the most efficient (or maybe even safe) but I was comfortable with it.

Going up the stairs, I took one of the other blogger’s advice and went up on my butt. Over the course of the 3 weeks, I transitioned into going up the stairs standing up. I was able to that by standing on the bottom stair, with one crutch in either hand, and stepping with my good foot up to the next step. After my foot was on the step, I would raise my body up afterwards. Again, maybe not the safest way to do steps, but I became quite confident with it.

My recommendation to anyone in this phase of their recovery is to do the safest way possible to get up and down steps, which is probably on their butt. You are always one slip away from rerupturing, so be safe.

I was casted for a total of 3 weeks, each week moving closer to the magical 90 degrees. After torturing my wife with my cast color selection (Week 1: White, Week 2: Hot Pink, Week 3: Christmas), I came out of the cast for good on my 4 week anniversary of surgery. Oh happy day!

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Weeks 2-4: Life on Crutches”

  1. gunneron 02 Jun 2010 at 8:09 pm 1

    Oh what a relief it is! I remember it well. Sounds like you’re making the best of it and now can tackle the important job of rehab. Hope you’ve got a good protocal.

  2. normofthenorthon 02 Jun 2010 at 11:38 pm 2

    Your crutches-on-the-stairs techniques sound just right, Bill, up and down. I can’t swear that they’re “safe”, but they’re pretty standard, and safer than anything but butt-walking. I’ve found that the trick about going down on the banister only works when there’s a banister on your “bad foot” side.

    For me, the plastic garbage bag worked fine in the shower, with a nice 1″W elastic-and-Velcro strap. After I was released to shower without the boot but still sitting (maybe 4 weeks in, I forget), I finally found the TWO commercial cast protectors I bought 8 yrs ago when I tore my other AT! Too late! One is a leg-shaped glorified (thick) plastic bag, and the other is a fancy vacuum-sealed thing. If I’m lucky, I’ll finally sell them this time!!

  3. judydebon 25 Aug 2010 at 10:56 pm 3

    I am in week three and have been doing the crutches/boot and wedges routine. I took out a wedge today and my Dr. wants me to lose the crutches as soon as I can.
    However..as much as I hated them I am too scared to give them up!!!I expect this will happen as I am able to weight bear more comfortably. Right?
    As for going up and down stairs…I have no pride. I get right down there on my butt. Better safe than sorry.

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