A hike up some steep terrain

I went on a hike with my bro today.   From what the gal who organized it said it was 1.9 miles one way and ~780 feet of elevation rise.   The first part was through on of the open space parks and it was VERY steep.  I did have to walk sideways in a few spots because the angle was more than the achilles wanted to be stretched.  I made it up that loooonnnggg hill and then we were on city streets, but still going uphill with a few almost flat spots.  Then we got to the final climb (still on city streets) to get us to the top of Mt. Soledad.  As we started up one really steep segment I bailed.  My achilles was giving me the sign that it was ready to go downhill.  I warned my bro ahead of time that I had no idea if I would be able to do the entire hike - just so he wouldn’t be bummed out - LOL!  So I told  my bro and his friend to continue up and I headed back downhill to the car.  It was a good cardio workout and a good workout for the achilles.  I’m going to hike it again in a month and see if I can make it to the top then.  In the meantime I think I’ll go do some hiking in our local canyon since we have a steep trail down into it which should give the achilles a good workout and stretch.  :)

As to my official PT work - it has slowed down a bit.  I had a minor surgery last week and can’t do any jogging, jumping or hopping for the next week or so.  Those were the main things I was doing  improve my cardio and achilles strength.  I REALLY wish doctors would ask you what your normal activities are before they tell you you can return to normal activities 1-2 days after surgery.   It wasn’t until I got the post-surgery instructions that I found out vigorous exercise should not be done for 2 weeks.   Vigorous exercise IS part of my normal activities.  I doubt I’ll last 2 weeks, unless the incision tells me it isn’t ready for vigorous exercise.  One thing I learned from my foot surgery - listen to your body.  :)  So for now I just do 1-footed calf raises, eccentric heel drops, …   I’m going to see if the elliptical is gentle enough on the incision tomorrow.  If so then I can get a good cardio workout from that.  And hiking into and out of my canyon will help my achilles gain more flexibility and strength.

The view from the top of the nature park:
View from the top of the La Jolla nature park

Back on the pitch!

Well I gave soccer a try today.  A league for 55+ and quite a few of the gals are over 60, shorter field, but not a skinnier field.  I played for 3/4 of the game and stopped when my achilles was feeling a bit achy.  Probably should have stopped at half time - but oh well!  I actually have more pain in my IT band right now that my achilles.  I have a serious knot in that muscle (or maybe it is one of the glute muscles that are on the side of the hip).  I keep foam rolling and stretching so hopefully I’ll work it out eventually.  It has been about 3 hours since I stopped and the achilles feels pretty good so I didn’t massively overdue things.  It’s a little sore in some spots - but nothing massive.  I’ll play in this more mellow league for a few weeks before I try things out in a league with a full size field and younger players.    And I didn’t even play too badly considering I haven’t played in probably 7 months (we were getting many rainouts before my surgery).

And now I’m OK to do “anything” - LOL!

Well I saw my doc today and he cleared me to do anything.  LOL!  He was happy I could do 1-footed calf raises.  I told him the strength is NOT the same yet between both legs and he said that’s normal.  I also told him how much trouble I’ve had adding distance with running.  He checked out my shoes and told me to buy some with a much less flexible sole.  Not as stiff as a bike shoe, but he was able to fold mine in half quite easily and he said they should have some stiffness in the middle.   Since mine are so flexible it causes the achilles to have to do too much work keeping everything in place and stable as I run.  So I’ll go out tomorrow and check out shoes to see what pair to buy now :)

He also reminded me, again, that it takes a year to get to the point where you don’t even notice you had surgery.   I see him again at the year mark unless something pops up before that.  I’ll email him with my progress as I do more things just to let him know how things are progressing.  I do plan on playing soccer in the "old ladies" league on Sunday to see how things feel.  I see my PT guy again on Wed so I’ll see what he thinks "anything" is.  I already scheduled a session with my soccer trainer for next week.  He has experience with training for injury recovery so I’m curious to see what he has me do.

In the meantime I’ll continue with my hopping/running/calf raises/squats/lunges/…  I also reviewed Agnes’ videos and I’ll add some squats with weights on the bosu since normal squats take no effort at all right now.  I was thinking about hop scotch and I should probably do that for my PT - LOL! - it’s basically the same exercises of 1 and 2 footed hopping forward and I can modify it to go backwards and sideways as well - LOL!

A little pick me up from a friend!

In addition to being an engineering consultant I also make jewelry. For many of my designs I buy handmade glass beads from artists around the world. I recently bought some beautiful glass rosebuds from one of my favorite glass artists and she tucked a cute little boot into my order! I joked with her a month or so ago about making me a boot in commemoration of my booted days. Hers is much prettier than the one I had to wear. A perfect pick-me-up when I was feeling a bit low about my slower progress. :)

A glass boot to remember my foot surgery!

I’m going to make a little charm with it and add a stamped take with 2/17/2017 - the date of my surgery!

Week #22 - things are slowing down …

Well the days of seeing weekly improvement seem to be gone. I added one lap to my run today and the achilles wasn’t happy. Tweaked it a little balancing on the bosu ball 2 days ago (even though I’ve been doing that for weeks with no problem!). I have serious doubts that I’ll be playing in a soccer tournament Labor day weekend considering running 3/4 mile made my foot unhappy. 2 days ago I thought I would be able to start jumping side to side on 1 foot (I did a couple of them) but today it was a struggle just to jump up/down in one spot. Kind of depressing but it is what it is! I see my doc and have PT next week so we’ll see what they both say.

I was comparing the right leg to the left and even the muscles around the ankle are smaller. It is definitely taking a long time to get the strength back …. I was doing the calf drops on the stairs but the achilles has just been too sore lately.

So nothing new and exciting to report - just that it gets a bit depressing when you don’t see any noticeable improvement in things.

Week #20 (5 months)!

I had another PT appointment today. Now I get to work on jumping on one leg and jumping up/down on an elevated surface with 2 legs. My gluteus medius is stronger now but I’ll continue those exercises since my body has a tendency to slip back into bad habits where I don’t use my glutes when I should for exercises.

During my 2 footed diagonal jumping (on a flat surface) exercises last night I felt a pain in my achilles. This happened previously and always when I do diagonal jumping. So I stopped that exercise. Told my PT about it and he said that’s what I should do - stop doing it, let it rest and try again later. I’m just running into the strength limits of the achilles still. After doing some test runs on my new exercises at PT today I won’t be doing diagonal flat jumps tonight - LOL - it’s still a bit sore. I am up to running 1/4 mile now though. I’ve done it 4 times so I get to work towards 1/2 mile now. No more PT visits for a month and just before it I see my doctor again. I laugh at his directions from 3 months ago. He said I can run 30 minutes a day this month if I want to. LOL! I HATE running and just got myself to 1/4 mile which doesn’t take too many minutes. I’ll have to go to a park with my soccer ball if I’m going to do extended running. I will only do extended running if I can dribble a ball. Oh yeah - I can run big figure 8’s now - so I can do gentle cutting. Yay - more things to do that get me closer to the soccer field :)

Week 18 - PT #3

I had another PT appointment today. I get to do jumps now - woohoo! More butt exercises too since I told him my IT band was bugging me. He did some more strength and exercise checks and said I went back to old habits of using my back/quads instead of my glutes. And he gave me some running assignments - ugh! I didn’t even do much of my allowed 10 minutes over the last 3 weeks - LOL! I don’t like to run just to run. Guess I better show up at the soccer field to run on the sidelines - at least I’ll feel like I’m getting ready for soccer instead of just running - HA! And he said I can kick the ball around - gently :) I’m up to 8 tiptoe calf raises pretty easily and I can do 10 if I rest after the first 8. So - getting better! I didn’t think I would be at 10 consecutive calf raises today - but I’m closer than I thought I would be! And he said my flexibility is almost the same in both feet. Not that that means I’m flexible - I need to work on flexibility for both feet since the left one is pretty tight too.

And since my Saturday team plays at noon tomorrow I think that would be a fine time to go get my 1/4 mile in, do a little ball dribbling and visit with the gals! It will be weird to be back in cleats and with no gel pad sleeve on my right foot!

This time I go back in 2 weeks to see how my butt work is going since I slipped back into bad habits between the last 2 PT sessions :)

Let’s see - what else??? Ah - I can do the stair heel drops now which both feet need in order to improve my dorsiflexion range. And I’m to continue the calf raises until doing it with my right foot is as easy as doing it with my left foot. And I asked if the bulge I keep seeing in front of my ankle is swelling. Sure enough it is. He said I’ll get the periodically - it’s just part of the healing process.

Week 15 PT #2

Had my second PT appointment today. I get to stand on my toes now! LOL! However to do it slowly, on one foot and to max height without pain requires that I lean on a table right now for the right foot. The goal is to be able to do at least 10, standing straight in 3 weeks. That’s when my next PT appointment is. My PT guy also suggested I not try my allowed 10 minutes of jogging per day until I fully transition to flat shoes with no pain. That makes sense. I also get to do squats, lunges, continue with wall pushes and sitting on my heel stretches. He checked my flexibility compared to my left foot and said it’s a bit less - but not massively less. He did some stretches/pulls/… to make sure the issue is just muscle stiffness rather than joint stiffness. So I have some of the same exercises and some new exercises to do for the next 3 weeks until I see him again. After the PT visit I went to the gym and did the elliptical and rower with the lifts in. I then took them out and did my arm weight work and hip flexibility in just tennis shoes. I kept the lifts out as I finished up with leg presses (which I can do know), some calf presses, glute machine exercises and finally biking. I started to leave the gym in flat shoes but the achilles was complaining so I put the lifts back in. My PT concurred that slowly transitioning to flat is the right thing to do. Not that I needed his confirmation since my foot made it clear what I should do - LOL!

And I get to do one footed balancing! I love to do balancing exercises - LOL! I did it on the flat floor and that was too easy so I’ll try it on a pillow tonight. Once the pillow is easy I’ll use the bosu balls at the gym.

Have a great weekend all!

Testing out the world of no shoe lifts

I decided to do a test run in flat shoes this evening before my PT appointment tomorrow. I was in my crocs for about 4 hours and maybe an hour of being upright (as opposed to at a desk) and my achilles let me know it wanted to get lifted again - LOL! So I’m back in my “high heel” clogs for the rest of the evening. I decided I’ll transition to no shoe lifts slowly to let the foot parts get used to the new position. I thought that with the stretches I was doing and the fact that the felt lifts were compressing my achilles wouldn’t even notice the change - but it did. I even had to focus on walking properly again! If I didn’t my foot wanted to come out of the flex earlier in the step than it should. Just another bump on the road to normality.

And I thought I would be adding those lifts to the retired list! Not quite yet.

Too many steps!

PT exercises are not what I want to do tonight - LOL! I’ve averaged almost 7K steps (whatever that means on my somewhat inaccurate free app on my phone) a day for the last 5 days. I know if I do over 5-6K my heel reminds me it is there. It is very there tonight. I’m actually icing and advil-ing for the first time in months. I must remember to sit more as I watch the games tomorrow - too much standing up and pacing today - LOL!

But, hey, my heel just wants to remind me that I’m not yet ready to play soccer or go on long hikes or … :) I’m at 14 weeks since my surgery.

Like it or not - I need to do at least the stretching and glute exercises tonight. I can probably skip the weight bearing exercises tonight since the foot/calf were bearing lots of weight today.

And, yes, I’m watching soccer as I ice and elevate - LOL! The FA cup replay since I missed it earlier today. And following that game was the Seattle/Portland MLS game. So I’m giving my foot a long break.

week 14 0verdoing it