The way I play my sports, I’ve been wondering if I would be coming back closer to the 9-12  months mark than 6 months so I don’t re-injure. I haven’t really got that far ahead seriously as only at 12 weeks, but I’ve been mentally preparing myself for being out longer. I did wonder if I could come back to ice hockey sooner because of the security offered by the skate boot. (I’ve been rotating sports and haven’t played weekly ice hockey for about a year plus pre ATR).

I had no intention to get on the ice till maybe several months down the road. Today, my daughter wanted to skate before her lessons so my family did the same. I have a significant limp still and took my skates along. I was telling myself ‘maybe I should not do this’. I googled to find out if achilles damage can happen in a skate boot. Saw that it is common in freestyle. Not sure what freestyle. I guess if you hurt yourself it’s always freestyle.

Thought maybe I’ll glide and last 30 seconds on the ice and was prepared for that. I was very tentative at the start and first few steps even off the ice and on the ice, I was unprepared for. Realized even skate walking is unfamiliar for new achilles. The first few steps on the ice were oddly foreign and scary…I did not think that was where the hurdle would be, but the brain had to figure out those steps. Then started gliding a bit. Went slow, no crossovers and no hockey stops. Really noticed weakness in entire leg right away despite having worked out upper leg muscles with machine weights early on in injury.

Went for a few minutes and off the ice for quite a while. Went back for a couple of more spins, a bit faster. Finally went back and limiting myself quite a bit but picking up some speed. Great feeling! Maybe skated 5-10 minutes during the entire hour. Found that it was not only my achilles but leg strength and sense of balance that I needed to get back after moving slow for 3 months. Not sure I would recommend for everyone. I was afraid at times. Flexed my calf numerous time to ensure everything attached. Wondering if this was very wrong. I got more dorsiflexion than I thought the skate boot would allow but it did limit.

Even putting on and taking off the skate boot had to be a very careful process so I don’t tug on my foot. Here’s the kicker… I put on my shoes and took my first few steps. Right away I noticed a bit better and smoother motion with my ankle. My limp was a bit less also! I’ve rolled ankles numerous times in the past. The sprain gets better but there is a bit of ‘lock’ where the front of shin meets foot and i have to work to get that ROM back. I was wondering if this was going to be a problem with foot in boot for weeks but I would not be able to tell cause of achilles as well. Anyway it seems ankle ‘unlocked’ a bit with the skate.

Feeling really good about this. I don’t want others getting hurt so I’m not sure I would recommend this early. But at some right time (probably later than post 12 weeks ATR) if there is an activity that you want to get back to and you skate, that might be one activity to consider sooner.

8 Responses to “Week 12 post ATR/Surgery - Ice Skate”

  1. superjewgrl Says:

    Way to go Bionic! I’m really happy for you.

  2. normofthenorth Says:

    I had a blast downhill skiing a week at Whistler in very flexible (Raicjle Flexon) boots at 17 weeks post-non-op after my 2nd ATR. No breakthroughs or unlocking for me, just the joy of returning to a beloved activity and doing it full-bore, including lots of ungroomed single-diamond “cliffs”. I felt safer there than walking in shoes(!).

  3. Kiki Says:

    That’s really interesting, bionic. I’d been wondering about skating too (wrong climate here for ice skating, but I enjoy inline skating with my kids), and assumed it would be many months before I could do something that requires such balance. But what you say about this having helped “unlock” your ankle makes intuitive sense. I’ve been experimenting with walking on uneven ground all over our “back 40″: hills with different pitch, right-left unevenness, rocky surfaces–each of these steps shifts the relationship between foot and ankle. Cool!

  4. kellygirl Says:

    Okay, I really need to make an effort here. I pulled the skates out today but as I skated around my yard, I realized that I’m not worried about the achilles–it’s the weaker quad that makes me nervous. I can see how this could help loosen the achilles and strengthen my quads so I will give it the college try. Thanks for posting :)

  5. bionic Says:

    So further to my post about skating a bit at week 12 post ATR….

    I now have what I feel is a great physio. However he gave me shoot for skating. I tried to sell it to him cause it’s limited flexion in the boot. Not doing crossovers or hockey stops and pushing off at about 60-70 percent. Phsysio said NO. He does not come across as extremely conservative but he said that he doesn’t want me pushing off in that manner yet.

    I wondered if he is not much of a hockey guy or if I’m not much of wanting to change my beliefs guy. Wrong or right he’s a great physio who has a great way with people.

    Now someone please tell me skating is just fine for post ATR limping stage. Not doing crossovers or hockey stops and pushing off at about 60-70 percent.

  6. normofthenorth Says:

    I don’t think you’re physio’s obviously wrong. I skied downhill quite agressively at 17 weeks post-non-op, had a blast, and felt much safer in my ski boots (even tumbling down steep-and-deep ungroomed Whistler runs!) than I did walking around the Village in shoes. BUT:
    - 17 weeks is “forever” later than 12 weeks,
    - I may have been lucky,
    - (My) Ski boots may be stiffer and more protective than (your) skates,
    - We’ve had some “random” people (not many, but some) who’ve done their initial ATRs in ski boots, while skiing, so it’s obviously not a guarantee.

    This is not something we’re probably ever going to answer with a randomized control trial, so it’ll always be based on judgment. Of course, if you do go way too far and re-rupture, you will generate a new “data point”! ;-)

  7. bionic Says:

    Lol Norm you are so gentle, wise and correct. Appreciate the excellent feedback for which I had blinders on.

    I didn’t think there is much difference between 12 weeks and 17. Perhaps wrongly thinking that cause the all the obvious visual milestones are behind me when the boot came off. But you’re right. I’ll keep that in mind if I get back on the ice. Thank you.

  8. Johnson Says:

    Ice Skate is so fun. I am a fan of Ice Skating. I am also teaching my daughter to skate because she likes it. I think that I will take the time longer to guide her.

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