7 Weeks Post-Op: Thankful for Good PT!

June 29, 2013

This week marked 7 weeks since my surgery and the difference between today and a week ago is astounding to me! Last weekend, I was in the boot, on two crutches, PWB, no driving, no walking. In the past 7 days, I’ve ditched the crutches completely, gotten clearance to drive again (yippee!), taken several steps on my own two feet (without the boot or crutches!), and gone FWB full-time. I feel so much more independent and functional. When I am out and about my surgeon wants me to keep the boot for a bit longer, but he gave me medical clearance to drive so that was huge. (I just remove the boot while driving.) A week ago I was also still crawling up the stairs on my hands and knees (I am lame - never mastered going up the stairs on crutches!), but now I am walking up the stairs on my own power.

I started physical therapy three weeks ago (going twice a week) and that has made such a huge difference. Each session is about 90 minutes, starting with massage, manipulation of the tendon to increase ROM, ultrasound of the incision, stationary bike (without boot), stretching and weight bearing exercises, and then icing. Each session I am able to do more - my ROM increases, I am able to put more weight on the leg, my RPM on the bike increases, etc.

I was fortunate that my daughter and my husband had already undergone physical therapy for other injuries so we were familiar with this PT practice and I knew that was where I wanted to rehab. In fact, I called them the day of the injury and my therapist has been advising me from the beginning. He is very focused on getting me back to my previous activity level (running competitively, doing high intensity classes at my gym, hiking, etc.), which is obviously exactly what I want.

My therapist did advise me to ice my leg several times a day for the next few days. The increase in weight bearing and the walking have definitely increased the swelling and the soreness. Icing makes a huge difference. The first 15 minutes in the morning are also a challenge - so stiff. I try to take it very slowing, though, and things eventually loosen up.

My next big hurdle is a trip I have planned for ten days from now - flying with my two kids from California to the midwest and then driving 3 hours to two separate family reunions. I feel confident I can handle the traveling and the trip itself - the only thing I am worried about is the driving. At this point, I’m not sure I will be to handle that much driving. Yesterday I realized that driving with the injured foot is basically like doing constant stretching exercises - fine for 15 minutes but tiring after a while. There is no way I could drive for 3 hours right now. We’ll see how it feels in another week. Whether to make the trip or not will definitely be a game day decision.