Week 6: da boot!

Finally, had my 3rd post-op appt at 6 weeks (have been FWB in a fiberglass walking cast for the past 2 weeks) and was able to convince the doctor to give me the boot… i was THRILLED to get out of that damn walking cast… 6 weeks of immobilization was beginning to drive me mentally and physically crazy.  Doctor says he wants me in the boot for at least 3 more weeks, though i think i’m going to try walking in 2 shoes after 2 weeks or so just to help w/the overall strength of that leg/ankle.  a couple of questions that i’d like some help with: 1) i’ve been reading a lot about the dangers of “healing long” and how stretching too soon/too vigorously seems to be one of the factors in this…can anyone tell me the difference between passive vs active stretching.  i’ve been trying to improve my ROM by doing some slow movements w/my foot, and also been trying to “stretch” the tendon out a bit by just fexing my foot upwards while i’m laying down… is this something i should avoid? 

also, how many of you “cheated” once in the boot.. meaning, at what point did you go from the boot to attempting to walk in 2 shoes?  by NO means do i want to rush things along too quickly and risk reinjuring myself, but i also would like to be able to begin walking some in 2 shoes as soon as i can.  right now my “bad” foot/leg still feels very wierd when i try “walking”on it w/o the boot… actually, it’s the same “walking downhill” sensation i had when i initially ruptured it (putting the injured foot on the ground feels as if that foot is walking downhill).. did anyone else have this experience?  i just want to know if this is fairly “normal” or if it is something i should be concerned about. 


as always, thanks in advance for any input/answers, and i wish you all safe healing.

6 Responses to “Week 6: da boot!”

  1. My understanding is: active stretching is done with nothing touching your foot. You stretch by moving it with your opposing muscles. It’s generally the least dangerous. Passive stretching is when you tug/pull/push on it, using something like a towel, your hand, or the floor. What you’ve been doing is active stretching, and at 6 weeks- you’re probably OK doing some careful active stretching.

    Most transitions from the boot to two shoes are gradual. It starts with some short hobbles around the house. Everybody seems to agree that bare-foot is more difficult than supportive shoes. Once I put my shoes on - even just around the house - it was mentally tough to put the boot back on; and the full transition happened pretty quick after that point.

  2. Hi NP’13,
    Regarding the danger of healing long, I was told you can strech a short Achilles, but you can’t shorten a long one. If the Achilles “heals long”, additional surgery is required to shorten it.
    To use an analogy, you can buy pair of shoes a size smaller than yours, and with use, the leather will eventually stretch to fit you. But if you buy the shoes a size larger, they will not shrink to fit.

  3. thank ryan..that’s good to know… since i was casted and my foot/ankle imobilized for 6 weeks, i feel this overwhelming urge/need to flex it towards me just on its own.. i just want to make sure this stretching is not going to haunt me long term.

  4. housemusic: thanks for the comment, however i’m not sure what to take from it… are you saying to hold off on the stretching since it might cause healing long which is irreversible (w/o surgery?)

  5. np13,
    I’m close to 8 weeks post op, and today was my first PT day. I had not stretched or even moved my foot much until today.
    My therapist instructed me to do the towel stretch, bringing my foot to a 90 degree angle with my leg. I also did some calf pumps and dorsiflexion. All of these movements were controlled, slow and moderate. When I started to stretch further he stopped me and explained aggressive stretching early in the healing process - which he defined as the first 90 days - can result in the tendon healing long and this is not a desirable outcome. So I am stretching but not at full range, and i’m supposed to do these stretches twice a day every day. Did you ask your therapist to give you guidance on do’s and dont’s<?

  6. good question… for some reason my doc does not want me doing any PT until another 3 weeks. when i initially asked him when i’d be starting PT, his exact quote to me was “not will probably not be necessary as 90% of people don’t need any PT”… i had never heard that before and seems to go against everything i’ve read here, so i’m very confused.

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