Making it through the regular season, . . .

It has been quite some time since my last post and I appreciate all of the information, suggestions, etc.  Thanks to all.  The great thing about this website/blog  is the great support for each other.  So here’s the Reader’s Digest of my story:

At the outset, I consider myself really lucky since I appear to be healing very well and rapidly.  My PTs say I am way ahead of the curve and moreover, they looked at my incision and were astonished at how fast it had healed.  (I felt like a patient in a hospital bed with all the young docs gathering around and they’re talking about you in the third person even though you’re right there)

I had stayed off my feet for the first week, keeping the foot elevated in the cast, higher than my heart.  I was off pain pills two days post surgery.  No, I do not have a high pain tolerance (read:  wimp).  It was a bit awkward sleeping but I got used to it.  I also was able to turn on my side, with pillows underneath and between my legs.

I came out of the cast after one week and one day; swelling was minimal, the incision looked great, although a bit sore.  I kept my foot elevated all weekend, applying ice and wraps.   I started physical therapy three days later.

My doc’s approach is somewhat aggressive and I consider myself lucky that his approach is to take that dang cast off, put me in a walking boot, and start PT right away.

I have just completed my third week post surgery and second week of PT and am happy to report that last Monday I was able to do one leg balances.  My ROM and strength are really strong, I can actually walk for a bit  w/ just a bit of pain, w/o hardly any limp, and my PTs think perhaps I’ll be off crutches at the next doc visit, which is October 29, and soon thereafter, out of the boot.

I do the PT stuff at least twice a day (morning and night), and don’t push the envelope — if it feels painful to the point of hurting and not being therapeutic, I stop.  Some days (cold mornings) it feels tighter than usual.

I am allowed to keep the boot off during the day and at night, and can stand in the shower (w/o the boot) although I am truly supporting more than  1/2  of my weight on the good leg.  At the office, I’ll take the boot off, elevate my foot, apply ice, intermittently throughout the day, and do some easy foot PT stuff — flex, stretch, etc.

The PTs attribute my recovery to two things: first, being very fit pre-surgery since I did a lot of ankle/foot stuff, and knowing my body (i.e., what works and doesn’t work), and second, keeping the leg elevated the first week post surgery.  I also have not worked a full schedule, believing that rest is best.

Today, I rode the stationary bike w/o any problems.  I felt as if I had just won the Tour de France.  I forgot to mention one of the lead PTs is a former bicycle racer so he is acutely aware of how much I want to go back on my road bike since I used to race as well.  I really don’t care if I cannot play baseball for awhile; I can live with that limitation.

The one thing I constantly keep in mind is to remember that sudden or unexpected falls/trips/stumbles may cause me to put force on the bad foot, and possibly re-rupture my Achilles.  Also, I’m trying to stay as balanced as possible mentally since I am rapidly improving and need to be aware that I could hit a roadblock or plataeu;  so I have to stay humble and not get too overly excited.

Still, having PT is great therapy for the soul; I take every little incremental progress as a "good thing" and therefore keep things positive.  It seems to maintain one’s sanity.

5 Responses to “Making it through the regular season, . . .”

  1. Pretty impressive physically AND mentally/spiritually! Way to go! You sound like a “poster child” for fast rehab, too!

    If you can, install the ATR Timeline widget (linked on the Main Page). Makes it easier for the rest of us to know/remember your vital stats.

  2. Musicman,
    I’m so interested in your timeline as my doc is also taking a more aggressive approach. I had surgery 1 wk ago today. Cast comes off in 2 days. My question:
    when you went into the boot, what were the weight bearing instructions? How long w/ crutches and/or a cane?
    Good luck on continued great progress!

  3. Steamboatin, I’ll try to answer your questions. First, the doc’s protocol which he gave me in writing said that there should be no weight bearing for the second week of PT; 20% the second week; 20-full the third and following weeks. What I found out is that (1) everybody is different in terms of healing, and (2) the PTs know more than the docs.

    In fact the crutches that I got were so badly fitted from the doc’s office, that my PT grabbed them and adjusted them to fit correctly. My back thanked him, . . .

    Having said that, what really began my PT was the lack of any swelling in the foot/ankle/leg. The PTs said they see a lot of swelling so PT exercises cannot be done until the swelling is reduced. Sure I had and still have swelling but it is minimal. BTW — today the scar is half gone (great I can now wear a bikini!!!).

    So the PTs saw my lack of swelling, good flexibility with range of motion, etc., and we progressed accordingly. Everybody’s different and everybody heals differently. I don’t think you should compare apples and oranges. I think you should listen to your body. If it’s painful, stop.

    I should also mention that I did have a lot of pain when I put my bad foot down on the ground during the first week, and especially after the first few days post surgery. But gradually, it went away. Now there’s no pain (I am doing one leg balancing, now up to 1 minute).

    I’m wearing the boot all the time now when I’m at the office, walking on the leg w/o use of a crutch altho I do carry one “just in case.” I can go up and down stairs one foot at a time, alternating stairs/feet in the boot, no problem. With the boot off, the Achilles tendon still feels tight and I can walk for a little bit but my toes aren’t fully gripping and I’m not pushing off the foot yet; just taking it real slow.

    Hope this helps.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  4. Musicman,
    your caution re: listening to your body and being careful when first putting your foot on the ground - so critical. So, But today cast came off and the boot went on and I was told to take it easy and move to 50% PWB w/ 1 crutch. I really didn’t want to put that heel down, but it’s ok, just tender at the incision site, which is mostly healed. Thanks again -I’ll continue to monitor everyone’s progress.

  5. Steamboatin,

    Sounds like you’re on your way. You’ve got the right approach, take it easy and listen to your body. I’m discovering that every day my foot/achilles feels different. Today, I had some swelling so I’m taking it easy. I wanted to take my road bike and hook it up to my new bike trainer and go!

    However, after setting it up, my foot told me was not the day to “push it.” (pardon the pun). So I did my PT, iced it up, will veg out, and see where we go tomorrow. BTW - yesterday I had a great PT session so I don’t believe I took one step forward and two steps back.

    Keep us posted on your progress.

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