19.5 weeks post-op: in search of the single calf raise

I guess I’ve been plugging along normally for some time now, but since I can’t do a single calf raise (I’m not counting the 1 mm raise for 1 ms), I cannot go for a run and I am missing the endorphins and the ability to eat with impunity.  The single calf raise is really the thing and if you are reading this Dennis you should consider adding this as a data point, in my humble opinion every bit as important as the other data points.    At 4.5 months I am nowhere near being able to do this despite 50 double calf raises a day and putting more weight on the bad leg on the way down.   This inability really precludes participation in all sports, except golf and tiddly winks, and I know many people who claim golf is not even a sport.  My buddies all make fun of my scrawny little calf, with winter coming at least I can cover it up.  Hopefully I won’t see a picture of it on one of the very useful and informative public shaming sites on twitter.

To others reading this in an earlier stage of recovery this post may all seem rather frivolous; don’t get discouraged, you will soon be in this place and if it is all you have to complain about life will really be pretty good.

Anyone farther down the recovery path than me, how long did it take you to go all the way up on the weak side and hold it for a few seconds?

2 Responses to “19.5 weeks post-op: in search of the single calf raise”

  1. It will come when it comes. I think you’re right that if this is all you have to complain about you’re doing OK…big smile for you.

    I think there is way to much of a focus on that single leg calf raise in that as you know it really frustrates people and many use it as the only measure of a successful rehab & it clearly is not…this doesn’t negate the fact that calf raises are one of the best ways to build calf strength.

    To answer your question I could do what you described around 5 - 6 months.

    I’d suggest the eccentric calf drop program you can google online. You do it straight leg and bent leg to get both parts of the calf. It goes for 12 weeks and it does more than build calf strength, it realigns the tendon fibers. It is well researched and I personally found it very effective. It can even be modified. I had some insertional tendonitis and did it on a flat surface as opposed to stairs as the drop below the stair put too much stress on the tendon at the heel insertion point.

    I’d also suggests sitting & doing single leg raises with a weight on the leg…you can add weight as you progress.

    At 10 months my calf is almost 100% it’s previous strength…and someday yours will be too!

  2. I’m a little past 7 months post-op, and cannot yet do a full 1 legged calf raise, and my calf is still over an inch less in girth circumference than my right leg. However, I am noticeably getting strong each week slowly but surely with my regular exercises, and more importantly, have been very active for months now, despite lacking strength. It’s probably only been 2-3 weeks that I’ve been able to even go up on two, then lower slowly on one. Consider taking up biking, which I’ve done without issues for months. Try starting out easy, but if you’re like me you’ll be surprised at how well you can ride. I was able to mountain bike for 5-10 miles before I could even walk fully without a limp, and yesterday I did a 19 mile, 3000+ ft climb up to 12000′. I’ve also been hiking a lot, though do feel a little disparity at the end of longer hikes. Still, don’t think that you can’t do anything prior to being at full strength yet. Talk to your doctor or PT and try biking and hiking, and you’ll likely be surprised at what you can do. And be patient and keep working! If you are making progress, that is the only thing you should be comparing yourself to (yourself a month earlier).

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