Another stretching/walking question

Earlier this week I had posted/asked a question whether I should stretching (using my own strength to flex it upwards while lying down, not pulling on it or anything)… I know there were some who feel that this might not be a great idea d/t the risk of “healing long.”    Another follow up question relates to the stretching of the tendon in the “normal” walking motion.  It seems when you take a stride with your “good” foot, you are putting some strain on the achilles of your “bad” leg, and same with when you push off.  In a walking cast, or even the boot, this motion is fairl protected and limited, though when walking without either, you are without this protection and the stretch of the step w/most of your body weight is fairly significant… is it better to “stretch” the tendon when progressing to 2 shoes by taking slow, deliberate  steps vs. doing some active stretching to “prepare” it for walking?   How have others done this?  When going to 2 shoes, is it best to start using crutches again to help absorb some of the impact/strain?

3 Responses to “Another stretching/walking question”

  1. The UWO protocol does call for returning to crutches if needed, when weaning off the boot. I regard that as “the work of the devil”, mostly because it seems so brutal psychologically. The crutches are deep in the cellar or the attic or the closet, and they should STAY there, I say!!

    Instead, most of us just slowed way down when we started in 2 shoes, especially when stepping forward with the uninjured foot. Initially, it’s a lopsided gait, “bad” foot forward, and “good” foot just catching up, to avoid the FWB dorsiflexion. Then gradually, as strength and flexibility and stability and confidence all build, that uninjured foot starts stepping farther past the injured one. Eventually, the only “hitch” in the gait is from the lingering strength deficit in the “bad-side” push-off.

    IIRC, the UWO protocol DOES call for some active dorsiflexion (e.g. with a looped towel in both hands) in the weeks preceding the 8-week “wean off boot”, and I think that approach makes sense. In this whole progression, exercises and “moves” that are “just right” at one point are risky just a few weeks earlier, and boring or useless a few weeks later — timing is all!

    As always, I’m a dorsiflexion “dove”, having heard from too many patients who healed long, and precious few who had trouble recovering normal dorsiflexion — unless their surgeons stitched them together short, which some (including mine) do on purpose, to minimize the chance of healing long. Even in those cases, I wouldn’t try to compensate by going gung-ho on the dorsi-stretching.

  2. Hi np13
    I am a week 10 non surgical recovery from a full ATR. I am also transitioning to two shoes as I write this. I have been in two shoes at home and for physio and workouts for a couple of weeks now and now I am starting to take it to the streets. I still fall back to the boot for longer, faster walks or crowded places. But I have decided that this week I will go bootless more often since they want me weaned off it by week 12. Once I have warmed up and the leg feels looser, I can stride out a little more til I feel the stretch but I am trying to reduce the limp and walk with a normal gait , rolling thru my stride, so that does mean a shorter stride. I try to a little stretching first thing in the morning to warm up the calf/Achilles but not too much. I agree with Norm and did not go back to the crutches and/or cane once I was off them. Last week I did lug
    my spare shoe around and put the boot on and off as needed but it was too much to carry around. So this week and next I will work on more shoe time and kick that boot to the curb. The strength and stride have improved greatly in only one to two weeks. Happy feet to you!

  3. thanks camperkate.. happy healing to you too.. i’m looking forward to getting into 2 shoes, but also a little, no, very, nervous about it.

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