Month One Rehab Plan

On 2/1 when I ruptured my AT I went home and got online immediately to try to understand what I was up against in this recovery.  The first thing I checked out was youtube so I could view an AT surgery and watch some video’s of how others ruptured their AT’s.  The next couple days were pretty busy with Ortho visits and then surgery.  After surgery I felt pretty limited with what I could do.  I really didn’t want to strain the repair with much movement for a couple days.  What I did do was visualization drills.  I would close my eyes and imagine myself playing beach volleyball and running through a park to try to at least maintain the mental connection to my withering leg.  On about day three I started to combine the visualization with small range of motion.  In my splint there was about a half an inch in every direction that I could stretch.  My ROM exercises were the basic up down, left right, clock wise circles, counter clock wise circles and alphabet writing.   I would also flex my calf without moving my foot to try to slow the atrophy.  Doug53 mentioned a study about muscle atrophy in rats and the slowed effects through massage.  I went to target and picked up a $30 dollar massager and was able to use it through my splint.  Like Doug said, worst case is it feels good, best case it slows atrophy.  Once I was off the percoset (day 3 post op) I went to my buddys garage that has been converted to a weight room and worked out with my upper body.  I’m not sure if that was the best idea to create more work for my body.  Healing my AT and repairing muscle tissue from the work out may have been a bit of an overload.  At the same time, I didn’t care because it felt so good to still feel strong and maintain what I could.  I continued this routine for around five days.  At day six I started to include some rubber band work with my bad leg, swinging my leg forward to work the quads and then backwards to work the hamstring.  I would also attach small weights by velcro to my leg and lay on my back and simulate cranking a bike as well as spread eagles.  I looked a bit like I was in an aerobics class with the exercises I was doing.  I have read of people working out their good leg and wishing they hadn’t so I mostly worked the bad leg.  My good leg got plenty of work hopping around on the crutches and I didn’t need to get it fatigued in the gym.  I also didn’t want to increase the imbalance in strength between my good and bad leg any further.  For loads of detail and exercises to choose from go to youtube and search for achilles rehab.  I continued all of this until I got my cast on on 2/17.  With the cast on I began PWB and FWB along with everything else I’ve described above.  With my cast off (2/23) I was able to measure my calfs, the good one was 14″ while my bad one was 13″.  Around 2/23, on days when my AT was feeling good I started doing seated calf raises from my bed.  I would sit on the edge of my bed with no weight on my knee and lift my heel.  At first I had to spot myself by lifting my knee with my hands to get the full range of motion.  After doing this three times I could then do it without a spot.  Once my calf got a bit stronger I would work the eccentric (some call it negative) motion to enhance strength in both motions.  On 2/28 I included a bike ride with my vacocast strapped tightly.  That was a successful way to work my quadriceps and hamstring without causing any strain on my AT.  A stationary bike would be the best route, one of the rerupture’s I read about on this site was from a bike mishap with flip flops.  Now that my wound has healed I will add a pool work out to the list of rehab activities.  This will include ROM, walking forward and backward, heel raises and grape vine.  At first I will be in the water up to my shoulders and graduate my way towards dry land without the boot.  On a side note, my range of motion is greatly increased after a hot shower.  I may take a chance and do my ROM exercises in the hot tub.  My short term goals are to be able to walk in my boot with the dynamic range of motion and bench press my body weight ten times prior to 3/22/10.  On 3/22 D and I are going to Tulum (just south of Cancun) for a couple weeks and it would be nice to be able to use my calf to walk by then.  I see that trip as another turning point in my recovery as I plan to do loads of ROM and strength work in the warm humid air (while sipping on a cuba libre of course) :)

2 Responses to “Month One Rehab Plan”

  1. My fave part is the “heal raises” — even if you didn’t mean it! Great name for that exercise — unless you overdo it, too much, too soon (as I did 8 yrs ago).

    I’ve always been a good speller, and never had to think about “heel” vs. “heal”, until I started blogging here. Now I stop and think each time I type either word (which is OFTEN)!

  2. Hey, you corrected it! No fair, make me look bad. (Honest folks, that “heel raises” above USED to read “heal raises”! I SWEAR it!) :-)

Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-Spam Image

Powered by WP Hashcash