It’s hard to believe I got this far. I remember sitting on that hospital bed on May 4, trying to hold back tears as the surgeon told me it would be about 3 months to walking without a cast, 6 months to functioning comfortably, and a year to full recovery. I know it’s been a while since I’ve been here; life is busy once again, but I thought I would post an update. I’ll be forever grateful for the support and information I found here.
If I can offer one tip: don’t rush it. *There is no way to speed up the healing of a tendon*, and it is not worth the agony if you re-rupture. I remember thinking I HAD to get moving again, I was frustrated at the pace, and annoyed with my doctor for not letting me out of my cast when I knew there were others here who had moved to two-shoes sooner. It didn’t mean they healed faster. The risk of re-rupture starts to drop at 12 weeks post-op, and he was keeping me as safe as possible until that time. I know how those weeks and months seem to be stretching interminably ahead of you, but it’s really not a lifetime. I feel silly now for being so whiny about it. Get back to your life as you’re able to: arrange for rides, do your work from home, go on outings, take your scheduled vacations … get on with things, and soon enough you’ll find they are getting back to normal.
I will add one caveat to the “don’t rush” tip: Studies have shown early PROTECTED weight-bearing is good for the tendon and even more so, for your quality of life. Do try to get into a walking cast, and do aim to be PWB from about two weeks post-op or as soon as possible. Read the studies, talk to your doctor; you will be much, much happier once you can ditch those crutches.
Do try and keep your hips level. Even with my attempts to keep things at the same height, I had plenty of low back pain because I was way out of alignment in the boot. Thanks to a chiropractor, my massage therapist and plenty of stretching exercises I am almost back to normal.
So here’s where I’m at now. For the most part, I have very little pain. First thing in the morning and when it’s cold, the tendon still feels tight. Otherwise, I am walking fine, and recently added jogging back into my repertoire. This weekend, if the weather holds, I’m going hiking.
I’m still going to PT once a month: she checks my gait — it took a while to get rid of the limp — adds more exercises (this time it was skipping), and does massage for the scar tissue (ouch!), ultrasound and mobility exercises.
I don’t have issues with swelling anymore, but the tendon is still about twice as thick as my good one. My PT says the scar tissue will continue to form, pull away and reform until 10-12 months post-op (which, btw, is what hurts when I do have burning or twinges of pain). These next six months are still important in getting it back down as close to normal as I can. That’s why I’m also regularly seeing a massage therapist (double ouch!), and continuing faithfully with my PT exercises.
As I thought it would, yoga has been amazing – exactly what I needed. I started with Restorative as soon as I was allowed out of the cast. Restorative yoga takes place lying down on the mat, in fully supported poses. It helped ease the alignment problems I was having in my spine, and just to feel calm and healthy again. Now back in my hot class for 2 months, I’m finding the chair poses (squats) and balancing poses to be working wonders for the tendon and calf, and my physiotherapist agrees that since going back to yoga my progress has been excellent. Next I will return to “flow” or vinyasa yoga. I have left it longer because of the poses that stress the Achilles (like downward facing dog for any yogis out there), but now that I’m at the six-month mark, I feel ready to push a little further.
Finally, SHOES. Today I’m wearing boots with heels. (Yay!) Granted, they are only a couple of inches high, and thicker than the designer heels I’m aiming to get back into by 12 months post-op … but I’m getting there. My physiotherapist has green-lighted this occasional wearing of heels because she knows I’m not ready to give them up for life, so it’s time to start getting used to them again. She doesn’t want me to overdo it though; the tendon could still heal short. So I have to mix it up. I did plenty of research, by the way, and it’s true: Crocs are by far the most comfortable shoes while you’re in recovery. Thankfully, they have many styles other than the original clogs, for men and women. I now have a pair of slip-on flats, a pair of sneakers and a great pair of boots — I could not have seen myself saying this a year ago, but I love them. Nothing else comes close. You can order them online if you don’t have a Crocs store that carries all the styles where you live.
OK, that’s it for me. Hang in there, newbies, it will go by much quicker than you think.
Happy healing everyone, and thank you for being here.Filed under Uncategorized |