Week 7.5 - PT Progress And Weaning Out Of The Boot

I am in the middle of my 7th week post-op and I have progressed in my PT protocol to a new set of exercises designed to get me back in two shoes and regaining my strength and balance. The protocol now includes:

  • Normalize gait
  • Progress calf strengthening
  • Seated heel raise>>>standing heel raise>>>single leg heel raise
  • NMES prn  (neuromuscular electrical stimulation as needed)
  • Gradually progress dorsiflexion past neutral in stretching and strengthening
  • Progress to equal ROM bilaterally
  • Eccentric plantarflexion strengthening

I am enjoying these new exercises, for the most part, and continuing to do many of the exercises I learned in the past four weeks of PT.  I have stopped wearing the boot to bed at night and I take very short walks without the boot in the house, very carefully.  In PT I use my street shoes with a heel lift.  I am still doing seated heel raises and have not started the stimulation yet.  My range of motion is very good - I practically have the same ROM in both ankles, but I am not about to push it on dorsiflexion.  I am doing plantarflextion on the Total Gym in shoes which is kind of scary, because I have the balls of my feet on the machine and my heels off of it - the idea is to press down with my toes, but I am scared of slipping and going in to a big, unintended dorsiflexion.  I am also enjoying working on single leg balance - I alternate lifting one foot off the ground and standing on one leg for ten seconds at a time.

I have an appointment with the OS this coming Wednesday, and I am hoping to get his blessing to lose the boot and to start driving.  That will be exactly 8 weeks post-op.  Other than that I feel great, no pain whatsoever.  I bought a pair tactical boots which are lightweight and have a side-zipper entry and I plan to wear these in the first weeks out of my Aircast boot to provide extra support and protection. I have worn them around the house and they don’t seem to put any pressure on my scar, which has healed almost completely.