Almost 14 weeks post surgery, question..

August 1st, 2013

So I began 2 shoes only a week and a half ago.  At this point, I’m really realizing how far off in off in terms of range of motion my left foot is compared to my right.  (Having to take short steps because my Achilles is not flexible enough to take normal steps).

How concerned should I be at this point?  Do I still have a lot of room/time for increasing ROM in my Achilles?

Example, when on my right knee and my left leg up at a 90degree angle, I can only push my knee forward to the front of my shoe.  I was told from my PT that the goal will be to get it 4 inches ahead of my toes which is a very large difference.  (Yes, I can do this with my good Achilles).

Knowing I only just began to walk, I’m sure ROM will increase to some degree, I’m just not familiar with how much and I don’t feel my PT are educated enough in this area to give me a solid answer.

So I guess the general question(s) is … once to 2 shoes, were you already at normal ROM?  At 14 weeks, do I still have room for increasing ROM?  How much did you increase ROM after getting to 2 shoes?

Thank you for any responses, whether if be ’scientific’ or just from your own experience.

5 Responses to “Almost 14 weeks post surgery, question..”

  1. kellygirl on August 1, 2013 2:02 pm

    First off, from what I’ve been told (by my OS,) the achilles is not going to stretch. The achilles is a tendon and tendons are suppose to remain taut in order to allow for explosive movements. I think you are experiencing the same thing as me (and many others)–tightness in the calf muscle caused by atrophy and reduced ROM of the ankle due to inactivity.

    From my limited experience, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I *think* my dorsiflexion has improved. I could barely get the knee of my injured leg over my toes just a few weeks ago but I just checked and I am past my toes by about an inch. It is still very tight in the outside calf and ankle but it is an improvement. I haven’t been doing much stretching except for the theraband towel stretches and the hanging off stair thing either. I do walk/spin/elliptical and do my calf raises daily. Hope that helps.

  2. kellygirl on August 1, 2013 2:04 pm

    ETA: I’m non-op but I think at this point, we are pretty much on the same page. Hopefully others will chime in too.

  3. hattrick30 on August 1, 2013 2:09 pm

    @kellygirl, massive sigh of relief on my end. Thanks for the quick response.

    I can’t do calf raises yet, but have been doing bike at PT every week for the last month 1/2 + now. I’m working on walking further distances now. Day 1 was a massive 100~ yards and since then I’ve walked probably 1/4 mile - 1/2 mile a few days.

    Again, thank you.

  4. normofthenorth on August 1, 2013 10:44 pm

    My two inputs: (1) If your connection is short, it’s almost certainly because your surgeon made it that way. The OS who repaired my first ATR said he was aiming for short, to give me better odds of avoiding “healing long”. As it turned out, I’ve “healed short”, and at least one local (impressive) podiatrist thinks it will eventually get me into trouble. The PT who’s trying to fix my “trick knee” on that side also thinks that my too-tight post-op AT is probably the cause of my bad knee. I do have unusually tight quads, too, but my left quad (above my GOOD knee) is actually tighter than my right one, which makes us both suspect the short AT for pulling my knee out of line. More details on one of my pages entitled something like “Maybe healing a bit too SHORT is scary after all!”

    BTW, I’ve got a bunch of stretches and exercises to stretch out and relax the quads and calf and do some other things that may help my knee. No improvement after ~6 weeks, though I have been erratic about actually DOING them. . .

    (2) I think most ATR patients with limited ROM who haven’t been surgically over-shortened come along pretty well without heroic stretching. And of course, SOME ATR patients “heal long”, which MAY be from stretching too much too soon. Put that together, and the idea of trying to fix a too-short post-op AT by stretching it hard, scares me. I’m a DF-stretching wimp, based on what I’ve seen.

  5. hattrick30 on August 2, 2013 2:43 pm

    Thank you very much for that post norm, both of you calmed my nerves.. Even though my doctor does not relay much info, I am very confident in his ability in surgery.

    Good notes about my tight quads, something I hadn’t considered as much recently. It was something my PT had focus on stretching early on, but after a few dozen other exercises, stretches introduced, I’ve stopped stretching the hamstrings.

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