… and another thing
Now I know that I’m a proper cyclist! Today I fell off when crossing a cattle grid - a small branch was hiding under some leaves, caught my front wheel and threw me off. The aged achilles didn’t even twinge despite my right leg folding underneath both me and my bike - my bike is a 1980s vintage 10 speed with a steel frame, none of this namby pamby carbon-fibre/aluminium nonsense for me, my bike would probably survive a direct hit from a nuke with only minor paint chipping! My left leg can’t say the same, I have a nasty gash right across the ankle bone and its a bit swollen. So, I’m not going to run tonight, I could do with a rest anyway.
Despite the much increased exercise levels and being able to maintain a greater pace for longer than I have done since before the injury, my right calf is still noticeably smaller than my left. The muscle is building tone gradually but from what I’ve read, it may always be slightly smaller than the other one. On the plus side, the re-modelled bone on that side from where I broke the leg 20 years ago (playing football, a member of my own team caught it en passant and snapped the little bone at the back) is as strong as ever. I know that I need to do something - single leg squats and the like - but I’d rather spend the time running
Goodnight all and keep on keeping on!!!
So that’s almost that then!
On July 18th last year I snapped my achilles - hence this blog of course I’ve not posted for a long time, life has rather got in the way. I was finally able to return to work in January this year, depression and anxiety being controlled by medication - the maximum dose of each one as I was in a very bad way towards the end of last year. Never suicidal but I had many days when I couldn’t get out of bed (or even from under the duvet where I’d made myself a cave), days when the simplest things could reduce me to tears - being asked if I wanted a cup of tea meant I had to make a decision and I couldn’t. Given that I’m a qualified head teacher, that I’ve spent much of the last ten years training colleagues in such diverse areas as curriculum management and teaching EAL students, I just couldn’t cope with making decisions and that really frightened me.
So, back to work in January and started running again shortly thereafter. I made sure to listen to my leg, I took 8 weeks off because my achilles was twinging and I didn’t want to risk it. I’m now cycling 12 miles round trip daily to work, running 4 days a week - increases to 5 times this week - with my long run now up to six miles. I’m booked into a half marathon in September, in the ballot for the London marathon next year, and if I don’t get in there I’ll find a spring marathon somewhere else. Not only that, but I’m starting to prepare for my first ultra marathon before the end of July next year - 50km before my 51st birthday.
To all those out there who are new to their achilles injury, who are scared of what lies ahead - yes, it is scary, but it does get better. The pain goes away, the tendon regains flexibility and exercise does again become a possibility. Thank you to everyone whose blogs have been a constant inspiration - even when I couldn’t comment as it was too much for me, just reading about the wonderful recoveries and reading the flood of positivity and support for each other has brought me through many, many dark days. God bless you all and much respect to everyone on here!
Going to try running! *gasp*
Went to my first Parkrun since 13th July yesterday - I was timing not running - with some friends who all charged round in good times. First person round did the 5k in 16 mins 45 seconds. I know I’m not going to be that quick ever again but I will get back to and improve upon my previous best time (in recent years). My physio said a few weeks ago that I can start doing the walk for a minute, run for a minute and do that for 15mins then build up. I’ve decided that this is the week to start. The calf on the injured side still has very little tone (then again, I’ve been lax on the exercises because my depression has been kicking in again) but I think that using it is the best way to build it up. Also, my eldest daughter wants to start running - she also wants to do the Parkrun thing (the t-shirt for completing 10 runs appeals to her) - so if she builds up with me, we should both get to the point of being able to run 3 miles by the spring. There’s something about the winter evenings that always calls to me to run, probably goes back to cross country running when I was at school last century!! The plantar fascii have stretched out quite nicely, the ankle is as mobile as its been in the last few years so now just the thickening in the tendon and the swelling around the ankle to get rid of!
Just trogging on
Nothing new really, my ankle is regaining its mobility, the foot isn’t hurting as much - the pain that is there is probably down to the plantar fascii (did I spell that right?) having shrunk quite a lot whilst my foot was in the equinus position for so long. I can walk a couple of miles now - I’ve discarded the crutches - and only have a slight limp at the end of it. Having said that, I should really elevate it more at the end of each day.
The calf on that side is very weak still. I’ve been cleared to use the stationary bike, I’ve got step ups and lunges to do to strengthen the muscles. All in all though, recovery is going along faster than I expected. The only down at present is a lump of scar tissue just below the top of the operation site. I’ve been massaging it trying to break it up but no joy so far.
So, just keep on keeping on. Could be the motto for all of us I suppose!!
Second bout of physio this week, after checking the mobility and strength I’ve been booked in for some gym work in the hospital aimed at strengthening and mobilising my ankle even more. I played 9 holes of golf this morning - on a par 3 course admittedly but not a twinge of pain or discomfort from the ankle/tendon. I’ve been stretching daily and following instructions so this is my reward!!
My heel is still very uncomfortable by the end of the day but my forefoot is fine - I’ve been very lucky with my recovery. At present, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop - at some point I’m sure that it will fall apart for a while - but for now, I’m enjoying being boot free and crutch free (unless out and aobut for long periods of time!)
Four days of freedom from the boot, mobility if not strength returning to the ankle and foot. The ankle and foot are very swollen although not painful. Has anyone made use of either an exercise bike or a road bike as part of their recovery plan?
I’ve got my second bout of physio on Wednesday and want to see if I can begin exercising on a bike of some sort. I don’t like swimming at the best of times, its not that I can’t swim but that I’d rather not!! However, if the physio suggests it as a good idea then I’ll go along with it.
So, to cycle or not to cycle, that is the question!!
It’s a pain!
Day four of not having the boot on. An normofthenorth commented the other day, I can report that my heel is incredibly sore - especially if I’ve walked any distance. We had an open evening to attend on Tuesday, lots of stair to walk up and down - and yes, by the end of the evening the heel and ankle were singing hallelujah!!
The swelling around the ankle has increased even though its getting easier to move around on. Flexibility is starting to come back but walking up and down stairs is only possible if I have the damaged foot at an angle. Doing toe raises is interesting, the undamaged foot is doing all the work, the other one is just bending in sympathy! It doesn’t hurt to do that thankfully, although I can feel the pull as the tendon begins to stretch.
So, pretty much as expected, if things keep going like that I’ll be a happy bunny!!!
The boot is off!!
The long awaited day arrives - I can officially remove the boot!! Walking barefoot just because I can - it feels odd but good odd. Right foot feels “flat” although if I concentrate it behaves itself. Someone else said they had a “gimp” walk and I feel a bit like that, it isn’t exactly dragging but it isn’t “normal” either.
The exercises are going well-ish. Ankle rotation is doing well, toe and heel raises are hard work, if I don’t concentrate the left leg (the good one) takes all the strain. That way lies falling over as I suddenly lose my balance.
However, progress is being made, physio next week and I’ll be asking about driving and cycling.
Just a quick one today, this article - http://www.runnersworld.com/workouts/body-shop-roll-work - dropped into my inbox today. Although I haven’t used a foam roller, I have used the principles with a tennis ball/golf ball and it does work.
I’m going to invest in a foam roller especially for extracting knots from the muscles - my calves don’t like me doing toe and heel raises at the moment so the roller will help to move the lactic acid out and get the blood flowing properly.
Went to my first physio this afternoon. After the obligatory question and answer session where we went over what happened, how it happened, any other operations I’d had (oh yes!), medications, what job etc, etc, etc he began examining my ankle.
He checked for sensation - turns out I have some surface nerve damage leading to spots with no sensation on the inside of my ankle. They will be monitored. Next, he got out a goniometer (protractor with a folding ruler centrally mounted to allow measurement of range of motion) and got me to bend my foot down and up. That’s OK, some impairment but a reasonable range at this stage. Next it was twisting the foot in and out. I might be able to do that in a week or two!!
I walked up and down the department without the boot - a very odd sensation, the damaged foot felt very flat, very little strength in pushing off from that ankle. Mind you, the range of motion in the undamaged ankle is less than it should be apparently, the results of many years cross country when I was younger - I think I twisted both ankles at least twice each every cross country season for about ten years!!
To the exercises - toe raises and heel raises - twenty of each, twice a day. Standing on alternate single feet for 30 seconds at a time on each foot, several times a day. Standing up, roll inwards and outwards on the edges of the feet, 20 times in each direction. Rotation of the ankles (both feet) and move up and down (both feet). Repeat as necessary.
Next visit is in ten days. After that one, he’s going to sign me up for an exercise class, he reckons I should be able to get on a treadmill within six weeks and maybe running outdoors - very gently - by January.
We’ll see, I don’t want to get too overjoyed in case it goes wrong, but shall we say, I’m cautiously optimistic.
As to the glutes (remember them?). I’ve got exercises for that too - sideways leg raises, lying on the stomach leg raises, clenching of the glutes when standing - that will probably look very strange!!! Still, enough to generate a half hour exercise session if I throw in some press ups and abdominal exercises. Woo and indeed - hoo!!!!