8 weeks - FWB and loving it!

What a difference a week makes! A few days ago I did a little victory dance on the inside when I went to get something from the other side of the house in a hurry, turned around and thought “where are my crutches!?”

The surgeon gave me the all clear last week to start ditching the crutches and transition to FWB as tolerated. He was in a much better mood than usual - he was giving me a lot of YES’s! Walking out the hospital juice in one hand and only one crutch in the other, it felt like living in a whole new world of freedom, gone are the days of bribing family members and boyfriend to bring food and tea to my bed. It is good on this journey to celebrate the little things.

Some notes from the appointment:
- WB as tolerated
- one crutch as required
- 7.5 degrees PF until removal of boot
- walking with boot for 2 weeks
- after 2 weeks start to get out of boot
- must use runner with heel or physio shoe with heel wedges
- 3 weeks or so
- physio mid-next week
- swimming next week
- no pushing off/kicking
- next appt. in ~6 weeks

Yet to get an appointment with the physio but looking forward to building my calf strength up again and make the transition easier into 2 shoes. It is nice to read about the progress to 2 shoes from fellow ATR blogs jdotjones85 and Ron with invaluable advice in the comments.

Surprisingly it was quite easy to start FWB after a couple of days though the bottom outer heel just below the ankle does get a bit sore but the pain eases off after a few minutes of walking. I still carry one crutch around if I am going to be out for the whole day as my walking technique will disintegrate into hunchback mode when the fatigue sets in. I even managed to go back to the scene of the crime, stand on court for a few minutes and have a very awkward hit back to myself (as I still couldn’t run, change directions, lunge), admittedly a terrible idea as I woke up with a very sore right hip the next day. It is time to reign it in and take recovery one step at a time, literally!

In this journey it is sometimes incredibly hard to stay positive about the current situation, but looking back on the past 2 months, I am surprised with how easily the body and mind adapts to the change and the best thing to do is buckle down and focus on recovery. One must trust that the body will do its best and in no time you will be back on your feet.

Happy healing everyone.


  1. normofthenorth Said,

    October 31, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

    Or at least it will seem like “in no time” 10 years from now! :-)

    Right on, Don’t Stop! But don’t get over-confident either, stay incremental in your activities, and Watch Your Step!!

    BTW, your protocol is unusual in that you’re planning to leave the boot before you get to neutral, 0 degrees PF. Most of us, and most of the published studies, spend the last week or 2 in the boot at neutral — or hinging down from neutral if the boot is hinged.

    The main impact on you MIGHT be that walking in 2 shoes with heel wedges will initially be the same kind of “stretch” it was for most of us, but walking barefoot (which many of us found fairly similar to 2 shoes as long as the surface was smooth or cushy) may be MUCH more challenging, because then you’ll suddenly be at neutral (and FWB) for the first time. I wonder if your Doc has a reason for doing things in that order. . .

  2. josee Said,

    October 31, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

    Hi Norm, yes i did find that a bit odd too. But maybe he didn’t want to change the angles too dramatically - my boot was set at 17.5 degrees before the last meeting. I can’t get an appointment with the physio for another 7 days so chances are I will probably be in the boot longer and will transition into 2 shoes on her recommendations.

    Have managed to go the whole day out without my crutches, steps are still very scary!

  3. jdotjones85 Said,

    November 1, 2013 @ 4:41 am


    Congratulations! It’s cool to know that someone else is also in the same boot (see what I did there) as I’m in. Kudos to you for progressing to weight bearing with out crutches. My doc thinks I’ll need proper PT to get me there. How has walking been for you though? Have you mastered it yet? Can’t wait to about hear what the physio says to you!

  4. hillie Said,

    November 1, 2013 @ 4:57 am

    Hi Josee

    There are many opinions about the move from a boot to ‘2 shoes’ and I remember that I was a little apprehensive at that stage (at end week 8). As it turned out, it was much easier than I expected. That was because, imho…, I had spent the previous 2 weeks with the boot’s range of movement set to bend between 30º PF (i.e. down) and 10º DF (up) - reminding my leg and ankle how to get back to that nearer to normal state while still fully supported and moving the muscles. In many boots you can’t do that and it is all still ok. My transition into 2 shoes was also significantly, but a little more nervously, aided by barefoot walking on flat surfaces.

    FOOTnote - the ROM had increased to that extent over a period of 6 weeks, it wasn’t from a static or fixed position. It was increased incrementally under the guidance of a hospital physiotherapist who also instructed me on the exercise routine which began, tentatively, after week 2.

  5. josee Said,

    November 1, 2013 @ 8:55 am

    Hi Justin,
    It took a couple of days to get used to walking but it helps to watch ryanb’s video http://achillesblog.com/ryanb/2012/06/19/stairs-and-crutches/
    The main point that helped me is to roll forward through your knees and toes and you will feel a bit of pressure on your shins from the straps. I thought I would get some bruising but after a whole day of walking without any crutches my leg and achilles feel fine! Start slowly with one crutch (on the opposite hand to the injured leg) and try to use runners with a higher heel to even up your hips.
    I do get a bit of pain at the start of the day on my outer heel under the ankle or when I have a rest for too long but after some walking it disappears.

    Hillie, my boot has a hinge that will allow for DF when walking but I will probably let the physio make that judgement. I will suggest it to her when I see her though! My surgeon thinks I will be able to walk in 2 shoes next week (week 10) but after 8 weeks of NWB/PWB I am happy to take it slow. Thankfully uni break is coming up so I will have lots of term to learn to walk again!

  6. atinysunpuddle Said,

    July 27, 2019 @ 7:41 am

    Yes! At 9 weeks I walked out to my car to go somewhere and realized I’d left my crutches inside, and then just kept going. Very liberating to just accidentally start leaving these things behind!

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