9 months out - sort of back to normal

I’m sorry to have neglected posting - but not much happens once you start walking well, etc. :)  I was released from PT at 6 months, and while I’m far from “back to normal,” they couldn’t do much more for me.  I have very limited DF on my injured (postop) leg, and just healed too tightly for some reason.  The surgeon had to trim a lot of tendon because of the explosive nature of my rupture, and set the AT at a “ballerina point”  for the initial few weeks.  Not sure which caused the problem, but I still can’t run due to inability to flex properly.

The good news is that I can road bike better than before, I have plenty of strength in my leg, and am building calf strength and size consistently.  Surprisingly, DF is continuing to improve monthly at this late stage, without tremendous focus on my part - just normal stretching, etc.  I had a setback a 6 months as early calf raises bothered some small tendon on the inside of my ankle, causing excruciating pain when turning the foot inward or pressing on it.  No issues  at any other time, but the doc said to lay off calf raises so it’s delaying my lower leg building a bit.  The AT is stiff in the morning, and I prefer slippers with a slight heel for the first 15 min. of walking and going down the stairs.  After that, barefoot feels better.  This could be due to age as well!

My AT is STRONG - but large - like a stack of quarters.  It’s not visible from the front, so no vanity issues, but I did have to purchase an entire size bigger in shoes making many of my older ones “obsolete.” :(  I’m hoping I’ll get in the old ones again, but it’s not looking good.  A rather expensive inconvenience.  My boots were ok, just anything with a grip around my formerly small heel/ankle had to go.  My AT gets sore after long hours on my feet - but normal activity doesn’t faze it.

I stumble, pivot, and twist all the time now - and no issues unless I irritate that small unrelated tendon on the inside of the ankle.  I think releasing from my bike clips irritates it, but I’m not giving up my biking.  It doesn’t help that at 50 I try to out bike younger neighbors - putting strain on my old legs for pride’s sake.  Pitiful, I know.  Unfortunately, I also got my big butt back - bummer.  I didn’t realize how much of it was muscle!  Seriously, though, I didn’t realize just how much atrophy affected the entire lower body - I can’t fit in my post injury sports wear.  Work hard on those hip/thigh exercises!

I can walk very fast with no limp, but just can’t get the DF for even a jog.  My leg is somewhat like a fused ankle, and my knee can’t take the strain when I try to run.  No pain, just technically impossible right now.  I’m hoping that the DF continues to increase - we’ll see.  If I sound nonchalant about the running thing, it’s because I didn’t do much before the injury anyway - my knees are shot from years of high mileage when young - so biking is my main pursuit now.  I’m able to throw a ball and move quickly to catch with kiddos, so other than the need for dodging traffic in China, my goals are mostly met. :)  I would probably be running now if I really cared, but I haven’t worked hard to get that back - please don’t let that discourage anyone. I expect that will come back in the next few months.

On a sad note, I lost my handicapped parking status one week short of Christmas.  Parking with the peasants is not fun during the holiday season, so that’s one thing I miss post injury, haha!

My sympathy goes out to those who are rehabing and in the early weeks.  It seems so much longer than it really is.  Hang in there as it really goes quickly once you find things to accomplish during the down time.  I learned great admiration for those for whom this is a way of life - injured soldiers with permanent disabilities, etc.  Their stories were very inspirational and I recommend seeking them out when you get “down in the dumps” about it all.   I’ll try and add a pic later to the post, so you can see what it looks like at this stage.  Best wishes to those working to get back on your feet.  Blessings, Kim

8 Responses to “9 months out - sort of back to normal”

  1. Sounds like you’re doing pretty well, all things considered. I’m pleased that the DF is still improving. The thickness of the AT should definitely keep improving for well over a year, maybe 2 years plus, until it’s quite similar to the uninjured one (not that I still have an uninjured one to examine!).

    So I wouldn’t throw out all those old shoes, just stash them in the attic somewhere. Mind you, somewhere around 50, a lot of us find our feet start to “spread” a bit, without injuries. . .

    And there’s nothing “pitiful” in my book about pushing your body to keep up with your younger pals! I’ve NEVER seen anybody my age at the beach volleyball place where I play, and I hardly ever see anybody within 20 years of my age. And I try hard not to lose many games.

  2. Glad to hear you’re still here spreading good cheer, norm! It’s good to hear that the AT may continue to shrink - it’s a large bump off my heel and looks (and feels) like a stack of quarters. I’d just like to avoid buying more new shoes.

    After reading over a few old blog posts, I realized much has changed over the last few months. I no longer have pain in the front of the ankle during stretching, and my ability to stand on tiptoe has “happened” without a lot of trying on my part. Just daily use like going up and down stairs seems to be strengthening all the supporting tendons.

    I feel no likelihood of breaking this thing again - it’s stronger than the good one. The skin has finally loosened up around it, and while I have to consciously point toes stepping down the steps sometimes, (I’ve gotten used to the DF position) it’s much more flexible. I think you pick up bad walking habits that have to be discarded as you go along.

    I really don’t get much swelling anymore, and can twist, turn, and pivot fine. I probably just need strength for running as I’ve solely concentrated on biking. Keep beating up the youngsters on the volleyball court - it makes me happy to hear it, haha! Blessings, Kim

  3. Hi Kim, good to see things are progressing nicely, seems like even after 9 months things still have the chance to improve and they do….

    I’ve always found strength and motivation in reading your posts and because (in terms of recovery timeline) you were a few weeks in front of me, your blog allowed me to see where I could be in a short number of weeks and it helped me a lot :)

    Here’s to thngs improving even more for you over the coming months and keep sticking it to them young cyclists, plenty of competitive miles left in you!! Of that I am sure :)

  4. Haha! Thanks, Andrew! I’m STILL improving - and really quickly all of a sudden. I think all the small parts had to “catch up” after the downtime. I also think I needed more rest. I worked out every day from injury to recently and now I’m taking more rest days. Calf raises are getting better - kind of “out of nowhere.” Still a little stiff in the first 5 min. of the morning, but that’s because I healed so “short,” I think. (could it also be age?!)

    I also suddenly noticed my ankle bones sticking out again - no more swelling at all! My achilles is still bigger than the other, but you can’t notice from the front. As a matter of fact, I get absolutely no sympathy from my family anymore. I’m back to being the house slave. I kind of miss all the help and pity, haha.

    Hope you’re doing well - I feel so badly for all the new folks. Glad to have it all behind me! :) Kim

  5. [Kimjax, I tried to post this yesterday, but I think the site went down for a bit. Here it is from my clipboard-manager(!).]
    If you haven’t, please check out my (newest?) blog page, with a title like “Maybe healing short is a bit scary after all”.

    In addition to the risks and problems I mention there, I’m now starting to think that the main problem that brought me to the podiatrist — a generally worsening “trick” knee on my right (ATR #1) side — is likely caused, or exacerbated, by that short AT-and-calf. It’s clearly a knee-alignment problem (when the knee “snaps” into position, it’s suddenly either perfect or very close), and many smart people think that tight muscles cause most joint-alignment problems. I might be adding 2+2 and getting 6 (again!), but if not, keep your eye on your right KNEE as well as your right ANKLE!

  6. I remember that blogpost! I’ve been protecting my knees through this entire adventure as they weren’t good before it happened! I’m actually having trouble with the one on the good leg now that I’m back to normal activity and workouts.

    I’m compensating by lifting my heel up to get a kind of DF movement to accommodate the knee. I’m still gaining DF, oddly enough, and I’ve been really slack on doing any calf raises because of an irritated ankle tendon. The doc told me to lay off until it was better. So I never got back to it. :) I was surprised to see that I couldn’t get more than an inch off the ground for my calf raise on the AT leg! I need to get back on it. I’ve been lazy about PT now that I’m road biking well again. I guess I just compensate with the upper leg?

    I have no limp, pain, or swelling anymore. Just no running due to the lack of DF. Time to stop being lazy…

  7. Kimjax, your “Just no running due to the lack of DF” has me thinking, as does your “I’m compensating by lifting my heel up to get a kind of DF movement to accommodate the knee.” This idea definitely did NOT come from my podiatrist or any other health pro, but. . . wouldn’t heel wedges in your running shoes let them move through a normal ROM (e.g. for running), even though one of your ankles can’t?

  8. I’ll try it!

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