Arghhh!! and need some suggestions for exercises

Well, things were going well with Physical Therapy and all and I had 3 months scheduled for it. Then I found out my insurance maxed me out at 2. I’ve appealed and they’ve denied. I’ve tried for occupational therapy, denied again. It ended on 9/2 - so I’ve been on my own for the last 3 weeks.  Thankfully my PT gave me some at home exercises and I’ve been working on those everyday. It didn’t seem enough, so I joined a Gym.

Started doing my exercises and using some calf machines there and for joining, they set me up with a trainer for the first visit. I told him what I was going through and he gave me a few extra exercises (also non-calf/atr related) but he’s not an expert on rehab and what I need, just some basic strengthening stuff, which I’m thankful for as I need all I can get. He even marveled at the atrophy in my calf.

The 2 months in PT I’m really happy for, but feel it wasn’t enough, not even close, especially since I was in a boot for 1/2 the time. So my questions are - what exercises is everyone doing to strengthen, etc. I feel my ROM is good, but strength is horrible. Although, I have felt a little tightness in my calf, which was exiting as all get out!!!!!

What I’m doing related to my injury.


BOSU ball - squats on Bosu with no weights.

Heel Lifts - using my left (injured) leg as much as I can

Treadmill - walking (did some light jogging, not sure if I should have though - no one to tell me yes/no)

Biking - this is usually my warmup

Stair Climber - trying to use the front part of my foot to push, lifting my heel when I can.

Cable Machine - ankle strap attached to good leg, standing on my left leg, moving my good leg forward, back, side to side, etc (works on balance on my ATR leg, and strengthens it)

Cable Machine - I do something taught to me in PT they called "wood chops".  Basically I raise the cable to the top of the machine, stand on my ATR leg and pull the handle down in a chopping motion towards my left knee.  I started with both feet on the ground, but lifted my good leg off.  Turn around and do it the other way

I still have my theraband which I do some strengthening at home. I ordered some more bands as well.

One leg stand, then I shut my eyes.  This one’s harder than I thought and I really have to work to stay balanced.  I felt this one was very helpful in the beginning.

Ordered a Foot Rocker.

Thinking about building a Slide Board that they use in Hockey.  I read on here somewhere that someone used it and liked it.

I think I’m going to try to add swimming to this as well.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Hope everyone is healing well!!!

6 Comments so far

  1. loumar747 on September 23rd, 2013

    Hi Craiger,

    We’re at about the same recovery point and my physio has me doing : heel drops (stand on step, go high on toes, then quickly drop heels down below the step, and quickly (as though what your heels might be touching is extremely hot) rise up on your toes again
    : one and two legged squats - injured leg squat is, of course, not a full one. Mine’s pretty limited. To be done slowly.
    : heel lifts - two legs unaided, injured leg assisted (partial weight on table etc)
    : foam roller (inexpensive and the exercise is described on an insert) this is specifically for the achilles - particularly if it is tight.
    :step ups - quickly up and down
    : glute work - which is really important. I ended up with having a very painful hip muscle which prevented me from doing my exercises for awhile. All this cause by weak glutes which had atrophied during the first recovery crutches/boot stage so the ‘periformis’ other major butt muscles became strained. So now, I try to consciously squeeze the glutes with all movement. Am to do gentle stretching and to do slow ’step ups’ being sure to first activate the glutes
    : swimming was recommended as were shallow water walking, heel raise practise (about waist level water depending on how it feels, might need to go a bit deeper)

    I’m off to physio again next week and will let you know if I get any other ‘new’ exercises.

  2. kellygirl on September 23rd, 2013

    When do you fit in work? Lol! It sounds like you are doing everything right. I never went back to PT after three visits so I’m definitely not an expert. I feel like my strength has improved with walking hills and standing on the spin bike (I do 30 sec intervals of standing/sitting for 30 minutes.) I still can’t hold a single calf raise–I can get my heel off the ground but that is about it. I’ve also been doing baby skips up and down the driveway to work on building the foot strength. (I feel like that is better than jumping on both legs because it forces me to use the legs independently.) Interested to hear what has worked for every one else. Great to hear from you!

  3. craiger9er on September 23rd, 2013

    I’ve been trying to get on here but have been so busy, my goodness as soon as I could walk it was go, go go!!!

    I’ve been doing the mini-skips also, mine are kind of like a little knee lift/swing raise up on the other foot a bit.

    Loumar - your heel drops sound a lot more tough than mine, I use it to stretch only and just hold them down below the stairs, I think I’ll incorporate that into mine.

  4. lodinpdx on September 29th, 2013

    I think one of the best exercises are various forms of “runners touches” I do the with a light weight bar, I do them with no weight but starting with the knee high. I also do them while pulling a pulley at waist hight with low weight. You can do them (or try) on a bosu ball. You can do a version where you have your back leg go on an angle behind your standing leg. Each version works slightly different muscles. They work the BUTT and the core, the calf, the hammier and all of your little stabilizer muscles in the ankle - you knows the ones that are missing. This is my favorite and wish I had done more before I was hurt..

    My other new not so favorite is using the band to curl my big toe. Post injury my toe (and perhaps all of our big toes) and super weak and we need him to push off when we walk and run.

    And finally the other thing that has helped a lot is getting a PT, a massager or chiropractor YANK out the ankle. Mine gets jammed and that puts a lot of unnecessary load on the Achilles.

    There you go my two cents!

  5. craiger9er on October 1st, 2013

    Lopindx thanks for the great information. I’m definitely gonna try the Runner’s Touch thing. For my toes, my PT told me to put a towel on the floor and scrunch it, made me think about the movie DieHard when Bruce Willis is told to make fists with his toes.

    I’ve been considering the Chriropractor lately but I’ve always been a little leery of them, maybe it’s time for a go though.

    Thanks again - happy heeling.

  6. dennis on October 13th, 2013

    Here’s a link to the PT exercise page. This page is probably a little outdated, so if there are additional exercise routines you want to add, please let me know:

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