Limp is almost gone

I haven’t attended pt for 2 weeks, and have been practicing everything I learned there at home. So far my limp is almost gone, but all I do is practice how to walk. I am curious how long before you can walk up steps? And how does one build up the strength to walk up steps normally? I can probably walk up and down steps with the handrail but I want to be sure I could do it without it before I try. I don’t know if I am going too quick or too slow on my recovery, but after the recent scare I had I am just trying to make sure I do everything right to not re-rupture. I am crossing my fingers that I can return to normalcy. Best of luck to everyone.

Update. The method for strong foot up and weak foot down worked like a charm. To not use crutches or look weird going up and down steps is a blessing. Was able to buy milk from the corner store.

9 Responses to “Limp is almost gone”

  1. Good news on working out the limp. I’m behind you a bit so I don’t have answers for getting up stairs yet. I hope to practice at my mom’s this weekend as she lives in a split level so there’s always a few stairs to navigate. Just keep up the good work and before you know it you’ll have the strength you’re looking for. Though I am sure someone else will have better advice. :)

  2. Chris, I think I understand what you’re alluding to regarding walking up steps because I experienced the same issue during my recovery. Walking well on flat ground came much earlier than doing the same on stairs. It’s also one thing to take steps flat-footed, but it’s another to step on your toes first. The key here is building-up your calf strength enough so that you can control the eccentric contraction of your Achilles (single-leg) as you step toes first and lift your body up using one leg. Building-up calf strength just takes time, but as your muscles get stronger I think you’ll find that walking up steps will get easier, too. Keep working on those single-leg heel raises and taking the stairs will get easier over time. -David

  3. The main variable that controls the AT-friendliness of stairs is how much of your foot is on the step and how much is hanging off. Ironically, that variable works differently when going up and going down: Going up, you can take the load off the AT by putting your whole foot on the step. Going down, you can avoid overloading your AT by letting the front of your foot hang out over air, and letting it roll around the step as you step onto the other foot one step lower.
    That latter technique can avoid the most common work-around on steps, going downstairs asymmetrically, always leading with the injured foot. With this “trick”, you can walk down symmetrically, at normal speed, without stressing your weak and inflexible leg.

  4. Thanks for the comments. I figured that I would need more calf strength, which I have very little of at the moment. I am thinking of practicing seated calf raises with a ten pound weight to get started, at physical therapy they make me do heel raises while grabbing something. And it is kind of scary when I heard of people rupturing by doing such. I will do what I need, because right now I can’t even walk to the corner store unless I bring my crutches to go up and down my steps outside my house. I would love to be able to just go. Again thanks.

  5. Chris, both seated and standing heel raises are good exercises and go after 2 different calf muscles. Seated heel raises engage the soleus muscle, while standing ones charge the gastrocnemius. If you’re struggling with single-leg heel raises now, try doing double-leg heel raises and, while at the top, shift your weight over to your injured leg for a controlled eccentric contraction (lowering your body and heel back to the floor). Try doing these standing next to a counter with just a couple of fingers helping you balance. -David

  6. Congrats on no limp Chris!! That is awesome. I walked today for about a mile without the boot. I was most definitely limping. Especially toward the end.


    Great advice on the whole stair issue. It really helped me out.


  7. Nice work! Loosing that limp is a big milestone- onwards and upwards (especially stairs!)

  8. I just spent a week on a cruise ship to Bermuda and got a lot of practice walking! I still have a limp but if I walk slowly, it’s barely noticeable (can walk barefoot now too but I don’t like it). However, it is very inconvenient to walk at such an incredibly slow pace.

    For me, going up the stairs isn’t a problem at all - never even had an issue with it. However, going down is very scary. I do what Norm has repeatedly posted on this blog (thank you so much for posting the tip over and over, Norm) and that is walking down with my bad leg over the edge of the step and roll over it. No pressure or stretch on my Achilles and I don’t look like a total invalid going down one step at a time.

  9. ATR2014, we can get you HALFway back to normal walking speed while your strength & ROM are still lacking: Just walk asymmetrically, with one long stride and one short one. Unfortunately (and unlike the downstairs trick), there’s no way to make this look normal. But if you make sure that everything else about your stride IS normal, you’ll be taking good care of your legs and body, and getting around at a HALF-decent speed. (I don’t have to tell you which stride to shorten, because your body has already told you! :-) )

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