Week 9 update and exercise efforts.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote.  I am now 9 weeks post-op, have been FWB in boot for the past 3 weeks and man does it feel good to be making progress.  I can still remember the first couple of weeks were very rough and I was very emotional and overwhelmed about this whole process.  This blog has been of so much help and support in my recovery, and though I know I still have a long way to go, I already feel that I have come so far.  The boot is GREAT…especially when going from a hard “walking” cast” the boot is SO much easier to walk in and so much more comfortable.  Like so many on this site, I am a VERY active person.. i’d probably go as far as to say that, if such a thing existed, i would consider myself to be addicted to exercise… this was the hardest part of the first couple of weeks (esp. the NWB period which was 4 weeks for me).  I remember going absolutely STIR crazy during those first 4 weeks. 

Because many have asked about exercise timelines, etc. here is a brief recap of mine.  Pls fee free to comment and especially let me know if you feel there is anything I am doing that may hamper my recovery. 

I was back in the gym doing some upper-body weights 1 week post-surgery (curls, bench, etc.).  This first workout felt VERY good, but also was very tough/tiring.    Looking back, I would now say that I wish I had waited until at LEAST the 2 week mark to get back to the gym as I ended up being in a cast 2 weeks longer than was previously planned d/t one spot on my incision not heeling completely at the 4 week mark: I am thinking this was partially due to me sweating in the cast, causing the area to stay somewhat moist, thus impeding the healing. 

From the 1 week mark on, I was in the gym 1-2xs/week doing upper-body work (I would bring someone w/me to help put weights on/take them of, etc. since I was NWB).  At this point my incision was completely healed, so I started working out 2xs/week with more intensity.   

Once I was put into the boot at week 6, I began driving myself around (though boot was on my right/driving foot I found it VERY easy to drive w/the boot on).  From week  6 on to current, I have been working out for 2 hours, 3xs/week mostly upper body, though I have also been riding the stationary bike for 10 or so mins at a time w/fairly high “tension” (bike on 16 on a 1-20 scale).  I have also been swimming for 45 mins/day, 5day/week and I have found this to be THE most helpful activity I have done. 

For any interested, I really did not lose much of my upperbody strength at all.  For instance, before the injury I was able to do 120lb dumbell presses on a flat bench (max: 3 sets of 4 to 5 reps).  My first workout 1 week post op the max I could do was 80lbs in each arm (mostly d/t the fact that I was NWB and couldn’t even get them up to my bench to lift.  3 weeks post-op I was up to 100lbs in each arm, and yesterday at 9 week post op and FWB in a boot, I was able to do a set of 120s in each arm for 1 set of 4 reps… so it definitely does come back which was one of my fears when this first happened as I LOVE working out. 


So anyways, there it is.  Please let me know if you have any comments/questions/feedback.    I guess the purpose behind this post/entry is to instill some hope to those who are newly ATR that things DO definitely get better, but that those first 2-4 weeks are very important to try and lay low… the return to activity comes sooner rather than later.

6 Responses to “Week 9 update and exercise efforts.”

  1. Hi, I too am addicted to working out. I’ve also kept up the upper body weight workouts as well as abs & lower body w/o weights. The hard part was getting in the cardio. I haven’t gone swimming yet but got the go ahead yesterday.I am 5 wks post op. My question to you is what type of boot you are wearing? I have a very clunky,non-flexible walking boot. I drive left footed easily but am interested in the boot that allows you to drive & cycle. Thanks for your exercise post…it’s always interesting to hear how others are doing!

  2. Hey just a quick question that maybe someone can help me with…..I am 7 1/2 weeks post op and am in two shoes now and everything seems to be going to be going fairly well, although I am alot slower now in 2 shoes than I was in my boot. My question is, when I went to see my pt I asked her about swimming and she told me that I definitely should not swim. She said that the problem with swimming is there is a chance that a person will get a cramp in their calf due to the postion a person’s foot is when they swim and this cramp could cause tearing in the tendon. Has anyone heard of this? Would love to start swimming! Thanks!

  3. My surgeon and PT both gave me the OK to start swimming before 7 weeks. No mention of a cramping risk.

    I know products like Cytomax can help endurance athletes prevent/reduce cramping; but I think the underlying mechanism (electrolyte imbalance) is different that what your PT is worried about. Still, it might be worth investigating.

    The only calf cramps (spasms) I encountered were when I was immobilized. Getting my joint moving (eg. swimming) didn’t cause calf cramps, it made them go away.

    All that said, I’ve had toe cramps when swimming (not since my ATR), so I understand the risk. Like everything, you’ve got to balance the risks vs. the benefits, and decide what’s right for you. It might be worth a quick call to your surgeon for a 2nd opinion.

  4. Regarding swimming, my doctor said no swimming or pool running (non- weight bearing) until she sees me this month. It will be 11 weeks post op when I see her. Initially she was worried about an infection at the incision, but once that heals she was worried about the torque provided by kicking (a swimming friend who is also a physical therapist commented prior to my surgery that I should stop kicking because the torque is a bit too much on the ankle/achilles). Water is a lot more resistant than water, as you know, so there is a concern that you exert too much pressure when pool running (what I did exclusively for quite a while prior to surgery). Perhaps swimming with a pool buoy would work for you.

  5. Hmm, not sure how to describe my boot.. looking on the back of the heel it says “MAXTRAX”.. big black, soft boot w/velcro straps. has been pretty easy to drive in except for one incident 1 week ago where i thought i was stopping, but d/t the width of the boot, i was actually pressing on both pedals at the same time, causing my car to lurch fwd and almost hit the car in front of me.. thankfully i quickly figured out what was happening and readjusted.

  6. re the swimming, i’ve never heard of those dangers, though i’m also not a PT and unfortunately am not in PT so not sure… i haven’t had ANY problems w/cramping other than a small cramp in the toes of my “bad” foot the other day.. but that quickly went away. swimming has been awesome for me.

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