Non-op rehab question about scar tissue

Howdy folks,

Today’s post is a question about scar tissue. I am almost 6 weeks along in my rehab (non-op protocol) and am fully weight bearing in a walking boot with the 2 cm heel lift. My 4-week checkup was good and the Docs said it was going well. They could tell the tendon was reconnected and that there was a significant amount of scar tissue–which they said was a good thing.

What concerns me is that when I do my foot flexing exercises I really can’t detect much movement in my calf muscle–especially when compared to my normal leg. Granted, I’m still pretty early in my recovery but it seems to me if the tendon is connected then it should elicit some sort of response in my calf when I flex it, right?

I’m not flexing it much–just taking the foot from its toe-pointed-down position back up to neutral.

Also, I notice just above the “defect area” (which is filling in but I can still feel a slight depression which I assume is where the tendon still needs to grow back together) there is a really hard mass. It feels hard as a rock all the time. I’m guessing this is the scar tissue? And is that the reason why I’m not detecting much movement in my calf when I flex my ankle? It seems like that hard mass would block the kind of response I’m expecting to see in my calf.

Is this normal? Will this get better with time? Will I be able to improve this when I begin physical therapy?

Thanks for the support!

Durwood

4 Responses to “Non-op rehab question about scar tissue”

  1. I’m not sure about everything going on there but I too am non-op, I noticed more calf movement as I began more WB and calf strength. Remember the calf turns into the Achillies so it will progress as your tendon strengthens.

  2. I’m guessing that your Qs should get a bunch of “Yes” answers, D: It’s normal, PT will help, etc. PTists LOVE the challenge of breaking up scar tissue and “adhesions”. If any of us (maybe ESPECIALLY we non-op folks) had easy access to an MRI or UltraSound machine, we’d probably double-check our progress a few times a week. Hang in there!

  3. Below is an excerpt from a page I am putting together about my exercise program/pathway but I haven,t posted it - however thought it might cheer you up - I now 6 months and pretty good

    At 6 weeks the boot was flat and I was allowed to fully weightbear. At the 6 week check my orthopaedic surgeon had asked me to actively dorsiflex when lying on my front and nothing happened!! Although he didn’t say, I think nothing happened when he did the squeeze (Thompson) test either. I panicked a bit - maybe the tendon hadn’t healed, but hoped that it was just that I hadn’t contracted the muscle for 6 weeks so had forgotten how. I practised on my front with my feet over the end of the bed or the couch, doing both feet to get the crossover from the good leg - it took about 4 days for there to be a convincing movement of the foot when I contracted the muscle

  4. Kiwi, Norm, and Ultra,
    Thanks for taking time to comment. I feel better that maybe this all part of the normal recovery trajectory. It’s amazing how much different the boot fits now! My straps are able to tighten down so much further so I know my leg is withering away…all the better to start PT soon!

    Can’t wait to start seeing any amount of progress to give me something tangible to hang my hat on. I see people jogging now that the weather is turning nice and it’s absolutely killing me!

    Thanks to all & happy healing!

    Durwood

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