Physical Therapy, Round 2

At week 7, I started up physical therapy again.  My previous physical therapist had taken a new job and wasn’t going to be there so I opted to go to a physical therapist who focuses only on foot and ankle issues.   My friend and tennis instructor (who was on the court when I initially ruptured my achilles) had also ruptured her achilles a few years before and highly recommended this physical therapist.

It was going to be different this time because I had gone the non-operative route after the rerupture.   This physical therapist doesn’t believe in stretching the achilles at all, but instead to focus on strengthening and loosening up the calf, which is attached to the achilles.  She said that my calfs were REALLY tight and that I could blame my genes for that.  She immediately had me doing strength exercises and had me doing leg presses (from the heel only) on the Pilates Reformer.  I was sent home with instructions to roll my calf twice a day on the Theraband roller, really focusing on the “knots” I could feel.  She said I should only need to come 2 times a week, as long as I do my exercises at home.

At home, I am doing 2 sets of 10 each: seated calf raises, arch raises, and windshield wipers.  I also roll my foot and calves out on the Theraband Roller.  I do this in the morning and at night.  She also suggested going in the jacuzzi and doing normal range of motion movements but nothing that would stretch the achilles.

My personal trainer from my former physical therapy office also had me focusing on stretching.  He showed me seated leg stretches that would loosen up my calf and hamstring.  I found them MUCH easier to do in the jacuzzi, but I am supposed to do them several times a day.

I’m a couple of weeks into physical therapy and feel so much better.  I don’t have any of the tightness  and pain that I had the first time around.  That could be because it’s been 4 months since the initial surgery and I went non-op the second time but all in all, I’m very happy with how things are going so far.

My doctor saw me at week 7 and said I should probably leave the Vacocast set at 5 degrees dorsal flexion and that I could gradually start opening up the plantar flexion so that I get some range of motion.  My physical therapist said to leave the achilles sole on for a little bit longer but I’m hoping I can make the switch when I see her tomorrow.

2 Responses to “Physical Therapy, Round 2”

  1. Holly I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better this second time around, it sounds like you’re doing great! What on earth are arch raise and windshield wipers? I’m getting FOMO :)

  2. Haha- so I am supposed to keep my feet flat on the floor and raise my arch (it doesn’t go far) and hold for 2-3 seconds then release. The windshield wipers are where I sit with my feet flat on the floor (I’m at at 5 degree DF now so it makes me nervous but doesn’t hurt), make fists with my hands and put them side by side between my knees (for spacing, I assume), and then make my toes go parallel to the floor in a windshield wiper motion.
    I go back today so I’m looking forward to a new set of exercises!

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