16 weeks - feeling stronger/shoes

Hi all,

Life has gotten busy again (after I said I’d learned to take it slower!) and I have less time to check in.  I wanted to post some of the challenges I’m experiencing in case anyone else runs across them.  Overall, I feel much stronger, can walk without a limp when warmed up, but limping is my default position when I’m not thinking.  I’m still DF challenged - and while making progress, I am no where near the uninjured leg.  Here are two comparisons:

injured leg at back

injured leg at back

uninjured leg at back

uninjured leg at back

So even though the AT feels super strong (PT calls it a stack of quarters) - it doesn’t flex much and I’m afraid at some point I may re-injure it.  I’m not particularly careful or stressed about it anymore - so the fear is gone - which is good.  Like many, I have to stretch a second or two after sitting a while if I want to walk comfortably.  If I wear my running shoes for long periods, they cause a lump on the AT from the heel irritating it. I stick mostly to my Merrells and Crocs for now - they have a tennis shoe bottom but no back:




Lower backed black sneakers

Lower backed black sneakers

The skin on top of the AT does not move freely and it appears that the scar tissue underneath is stuck together and limiting my DF.   The PT works on this each week - but I only have 4 sessions left on my insurance - bummer.  Any suggestions about how to loosen this myself?  I do the massage - but it doesn’t seem as effective as the ultrasound/deep massage/suction cups they use at therapy sessions.  Here’s a pic of the scar after workout:


I yank the sock up to keep the shoe from bugging it.  I still have swelling in the evenings - mostly on the outside which is where my DF seems inhibited also.  Still have the indentation at top of scar which is tissue sticking together and makes stretching difficult during DF.  I can do double calf raises, but can only get about an inch up on my injured leg alone.  Not sure if it’s mental or physical, lol, but I definitely feel the exercise on the doubles.  I’m starting to build noticeable calf muscle - but am no where near the uninjured leg.  I limp when walking barefoot all the time - I really need shoes or slippers on to walk normally.   So….that’s about it! I can keep my foot down all the time without discomfort - HUGE blessing compared to even a month ago.  It appears to be tied to the muscle development.  Can’t run or really walk fast normally(I can limp at a good clip)  - but I can navigate uneven ground easily and do the stairs with a little accommodation over the edge with the injured foot.

I LOVE doing single calf raises in the pool - do this as soon as you’re able!  It’s a great morale booster.  Did anyone else struggle with single calf raises at 16 weeks?  I keep  moving foward - but it’s micoscopic progress with DF.  I’m not sure how to release all this scar tissue that seems to be holding me back.  It could be that the tendon has just healed short as well - won’t see the doc till next month.

The good news is that I’m in excellent shape from all the rehab exercises, biking, and weight lifting - and my hips and upper legs feel good from the band exercises.  I’m just patiently working on my calf.  The band exercises have contributed the most to my good balance on the injured foot and overall ankle/leg strength.  Get one of those r-loop thingies (see previous posts) from your PT if able.  It has been a huge help.  Would love any advice from veterans for dealing with the scar tissue.  Blessings, Kim

8 Responses to “16 weeks - feeling stronger/shoes”

  1. Kimjax,
    Good to hear your life is beginning to return to normal.

    At 27 weeks I still can barely get my heel off the ground on a single leg calf raise. I’m not too concerned about it though, It will get there in time and it does not seem to limit me.

    Looking back on just 4 weeks ago, I could barely walk at any speed without a limp and now the limp is gone at normal speed, so it really does go away with time and practice.

    Would a home ultrasound unit help the scar tissue once your PT sessions are over? Can you get those suction cups you mention and possibly use them yourself or have a family member get instructions on how to use them?

  2. I absolutely love reading and seeing your progress on your blog.

    Some really nice photo’s there and again the progress is coming along nicely - I really enjoy the way you’ve grabbed the AT by the scruff of the neck to get it to work how you want it to :)

    Looking forward to more updates, happy healing :)

  3. You asked for advice on dealing with the scar tissue. I’ve been told that running a tattoo gun over a scar (without ink) can result in a pretty dramatic improvement. Not too hard to find info on line (I think it’s called skin needling). Here’s one presentation:


    Let us know how it works out for you ;-)

  4. Its good to hear how everyone is getting on. I’m at 16 weeks too, with similar DF to you, Kim, but not allowed to do single calf raises yet. My physio has said to stick with double for now, which I can do but my ATR leg is a lot weaker than the other one. I walked 2 miles yesterday, although at an easy pace - it started pulling at about 1.5 miles. I still get pain in two areas - one side of the tendon and below my ankle bone - this is what is stopping me doing more. Does/did anyone else still have pain around 16 weeks?

    On the up side, I have been able to bike and row at the gym and can just about do stairs with some adjustments. And, of course, my tendon is still continuous - no re-rupture so far - and that can’t be taken for granted, Sheena’s re-rupture has definitely shaken me up a bit! On the whole though, like others, I seem to be making progress bit by bit, and am grateful for each new step :-)

  5. Great news Kim. Glad to see you’re doing so well. Me, I’m not so great although now not a conclusive re rupture. Don’t over do it though eh Kim..

  6. Sheena - so sorry to hear about your setback. I’m so bummed out for you - but at least you “know the ropes” now. :) Just stinks when this stuff happens - and there’s no real reason I should have blown mine in the first place. (stepping off a curb), I’ve got my Vaco boot all carefully preserved in the closet just in case…

    ryanb - FORGET about the needling - ugh! I’ll be patient and hope time heals all wounds, lol - you go first! ugh - I avoid docs and needles unless absolutely necessary! You live life on the edge.

    Hala - I need to walk more - I’m really relying on my biking for fitness - but it’s not the same motion for the AT. Walking is so boring here on the coast - no beautiful scenery like some of the pics from out West. I’ve been counting on my weekly grocery runs and kiddie chauffering for the real walking - lots of kids pretty much requires every aisle be perused for max calorie per dollar finds. The level ground provides no surprises, but the kids driving the carts behind me are pretty nerve wracking. Maybe I need to get outside! Swimming has been awesome - but again - little help to the AT.

    Andrew -thanks for the kind words. Has anyone used a home ultrasound like Starshep mentioned? I’m not as excited about spending $$ on rehab anymore - the better you get, the less obsessed you become with moving forward. I feel like I’m hitting a plateau of sorts - my strength is building, but I’m making very few ROM increases. For those just starting out - ration your PT as you’ll need it more around 16-20 weeks as you really get back in the game. I run out of PT at 20 weeks or so and would really like to continue - but insurance says no.

    I’ll put you on my prayer list, Sheena. I hope it’s not a full re- rupture and you’ll heal quickly. Keep us up to date.

  7. Whatever you’re doing keep doing it because it’s working. The range of motion will come with time. It sounds like you’re very motivated and I have no doubt you’ll accomplish all your goals. Just keep pushing, stay positive and remember 1 Timothy 4:8.

    Blessings - Scott

  8. Great verse, Scott. Needed that today as busy and mobile life has started to eclipse my time in the Word again each morning…I’ve got to stay on track with the good habits I kept while life was slower. :) Check out Habakkuk 3:18.

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