9 month mark!

It’s my 9 month anniversary :) I’m heading to Vegas for a soccer tournament this weekend - whoopie! I’m doing all the activities I did before my surgery but am still working on getting my full stamina and leg strength back. Granted I’ve gotten very sloppy about doing any achilles-specific exercises. I’m back to my routine of various exercises classes or a soccer game every day except Wednesday. My achilles feels great, in fact it feels way better than before surgery since it is not inflamed all the time. I really should make a point of doing some targeted exercises (and running) in order to get my full leg strength and aerobic capacity back - but it’s more fun to take my classes and play soccer games - LOL! I just don’t like exercising by myself which is what I had to do as I recovered. I think I’m revolting against that now.

So - if you’re just starting out your journey be sure to follow the doctors orders, do your PT (when you get to that point) and then do what ever exercise you can (and that your doctor allows) as you recover. Those who had ATR will have a somewhat different journey than those of us with a bone spur. For me I have no worries about another rupture and am still sooo happy that my achilles feels so good now! Being able to wear any shoe I want without worrying about adding a pad to the back of the heel and wearing a gel pad is awesome! Not having to ice it down after every soccer game is great!

Good luck in your recovery and if you’re just beginning the journey be sure to ice (behind the knee) and elevate!

My first HIIT class since February!

Well I was able to get in 1 more soccer game before our 2 week, between season hiatus. Tonight I went to the High Intensity Interval Training class for the first time since February. I did OK. I definitely don’t have the aerobic capacity or leg strength back yet. I was able to do some of the hopping, but towards the end of class I switched to the reduced impact form since my legs and foot were really feeling it. Still - it was good to get back to another class since I get really bored going to the gym and exercising on my own. Tomorrow is my rest day though I’ll still do my glute PT exercises and calf raises.

3 soccer games under my belt :)

I played 2 games with the 55+ league and decided to give the 47+ league a try last night. I still need to work on my leg strength and aerobic capacity but my foot didn’t have any issues. Some of the muscles on the outside of the foot were a bit sore but nothing serious. Managed to score an own goal - LOL! Everyone just said “Welcome back!” Hahahahaha! My IT band (on both sides) and glutes weren’t nearly as sore after this game as they have been after the other 2 so I think I’m finally noticing an improvement in their strength. And the knot I’ve had in my IT band on the surgery side is gone, finally. So I’m slowly working my way towards 3-4 soccer games a week. I emailed my surgeon to let him know that things were going well and he thanked me for being a good patient, doing what I was told and doing my rehab diligently. I have to say it felt great to not need to ice my achilles after a game for the first time in 10 years. And, of course, just as I’m ramping up my soccer playing the 2 week break between summer and fall leagues happens after next week. That means I’ll have to start trying to run again :( But before that I’ll play 2 more games.

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.