September 16, 2015 - Week 17 Post-Op Update

September 16, 2015

Every Wednesday since the day of my surgery on May 20, I think about how another week has passed.  I am really doing great and can honestly say that I am better than I was before the rupture (bearing in mind that I had a diagnosed moderate tear for a few months before the rupture.)  In the past two weeks I traveled on business from my home outside Washington DC to New Delhi, India and back again and I am happy to report that I experienced no swelling or discomfort in the repaired ankle at all.  I have not been icing or elevating just because I don’t need to.

What I have been doing is exercising.  I am back on the elliptical trainer for 30 minute pain-free cardio workouts and when I have time I follow that with a 30 minute walk at 3.1 mph on the treadmill.  I pick 3.1 mph because that is the distance of a 5K run.  Before my injury my standard 5K time was around 30 minutes, so I feel that now I could easily complete (although not RUN) a 5K with an hour or greater limit, so I am starting to look for one here in the area.  I have also been keeping up with the strength and balance training that I learned before I was discharged from PT.  For example, I just got back from the gym where I did 50 2-leg calf raises, 3 sets of 15 balance exercises where I stand on the bad leg and bend down and touch a yoga block with my opposite hand, plus the most important exercise for me now - eccentric strengthening.  Eccentric strength is strength in your muscle as you are extending it, so if you imagine yourself standing on your forefoot - you use eccentric strength when you lower yourself on to your heel.  As recently as 2 weeks ago all I could manage was to drop my heel, but with continued work I am finally getting some control over the process.  Besides walking, I use a leg press machine with 90 pounds (the amount is not important as long as you have some resistance) - then I do basically a 2-legged toe raise on the machine, and I just use my bad ankle to lower myself back to a little past neutral - then back up on two toes, down on one as before.  This eccentric strengthening has really been helping me and I have noticed that my heel soreness has almost disappeared, since I am no longer dropping my heel when I walk.  Going down stairs, I also practice eccentric strengthening by going down to the next step on my toe and lowering the heel.

I have completely normal range of motion, very little pain, and my gait is almost back to normal.  I don’t think I have a limp but my wife tells me I still have a little bit of one.  Oh well - keep doing strength and balance exercises!

For workouts I am using my old running shoes - Asics Gel-Kayano 20’s, with green Superfeet insoles.  I am mostly using the Skechers Shape-up Comfort Walkers for everyday use and have even taken my dogs on a couple of 2-3 mile weekend walks on fairly smooth terrain.  I would like to get back to hiking the trails around my house more regularly now that the weather is nice, which I should be able to do.

My scar looks fine - I rub Bio-Oil on it several times a day mostly because I like how the Bio-Oil smells.

That’s it for now - my advice to everyone starting out with the injury is that the time actually passes quickly - get in to PT as soon as you can and start to reclaim your life from his nasty injury.  I am very pleased I went the surgical route - but of course my perspective is that I did not have any surgical complications, so I guess that is easy for me to say.  It gets better - hang in there!