Had my 6 month PT checkup today. Did some Graston, it was fantastic. I haven’t had this done for over a month (actually about 6 weeks). As you might imagine, in that time I developed new scar tissue. It was nice to break that up. PT also used some sort of tool on the scar itself and cleaned that up a bit - looks much better.
We did a few baseline tests. My PT checked my jogging stride, asked me to run, box jump, and do some unilateral raises. Everything looked great according to him, with the exception of my unilateral raise. I voiced my concern about possibly healing a little long and explained that I can’t get up on my toes as far as my right when doing unilateral.
He suggested it’s possible I healed long, but pretty unlikely. I have the same range going up on my toes as the uninjured side. This is a pretty typical hang-up for people, and he noted that it takes a long, long time to get that top range toe-up motion (while carrying your own weight) back. Sometimes, people don’t ever get it back. In the end, he chalked my situation up to lack of strength based on a few tests he did (he asked me to simply sit with my feet angled 90 degrees and roll up on my toes and plantarflex the balls of my feet into the ground as hard as I could. Since I could get my injured side up as high as the other, he concluded I have full range in my calf and I probably didn’t heal long). There is a definite hang-up I have here, where it feels like my foot/ankle has to get up past a certain point, and then it clicks/rolls into its highest point. I don’t know quite how else to describe it. The PT suggested that while I’m at my desk at work, to just plantarflex down (heel raise) while seated and focus on stretching my calf to the very top of that motion.
Otherwise the report card was good. I was told to keep doing whatever else I’m doing, in addition to more focus on that top range concentric unilateral. He also wants me doing more one-legged hopping (side to side, and front to back), and to always focus on being on the balls of my feet with toes pointed up to stimulate the calf more. If you try this on a BOSU ball, you’ll see instantly why pointing your toes up stimulates way more of your calf.
Stairmaster on toes, good.
Jogging stairs on toes, good.
Box jumping, good.
Lunges and burpees, good.
I’m noticing that jogging and running has become more comfortable and natural. The tendon isn’t as tight, I have a bit more spring, and the toll it’s taking on my left hip (and knee) is less. I watched my 4 month jogging video earlier today and it was pretty funny seeing how ugly my stride was. I’ve since balanced out quite a bit and do not appear to have an injury (though I am still feeling a bit off). Same goes for jumping. The change over time is really amusing to watch.
I am to call the PT back in 2 weeks after my 6 month surgeon checkup where I’ll have a strength test. At that point I’ll (hopefully) get the official green light to engage, incrementally of course, in full-on ballistic plyometric training.
Here’s a video from this evening. Running 5mph, 9mph, and 12mph. It really is amazing to see how much my stride has changed in two months. That’s a long time, but this is a long recovery. I ran for 30 minutes straight tonight, 6mph cruise with 8mph one-minute bursts every three minutes. By far the most aggressive running I’ve done yet. I am very happy with how my stride is improving and the running is feeling more NATURAL. Strangely enough, it actually feels a bit more fluid and natural when I run at a faster pace (8+mph) as opposed to my typical 6mph jog. Not sure why that is. Perhaps my body is forward more and I’m up on the balls of my feet at faster speeds. But I’m a heel-strike runner so IDK.
I’m also noticing more every day that size and shape are coming back, albeit very slowly, to the injured leg. Here’s to hoping that with increased jogging distances and general workout intensity, this will start to take off!
All the best.
My surgeon just wrote me and said I have the green light to engage in any training I want as long as it’s not painful. He has no worries about my perceived (and real) lack of strength in unilaterals at this point. Simply something I’ll have to work on in the coming months (and years). I can still sense some “heel drop” when I try to launch off of my toes or if I’m running stairs on my toes and try to spring, so will definitely need to stay cautious there (and will ease into sprinting, etc in the next few months).
Otherwise, feeling pretty great right now, mentally, and physically. The intense treadmill session from the other day, coupled with the seated flexibility toe-up exercises have really pushed my recovery into another phase. Going to keep tacking on distance and speed to my runs. Will keep updating as things progress.