oscillot’s AchillesBlog

Week 11 update: Weaning off the boot pt. 2

07/22/2015 · 2 Comments

Last night, I slowly and carefully took my first steps sans walking boot since the injury. Here’s what it looked like:

OK, that’s actually Honda’s Asimo robot, but my stride looks exactly like that. One foot in front of the other - literally 12″ - is as much as I can comfortably stretch my Achilles on pushoff. Asimo’s still got me beat on stairs, hopping, and jogging.

My PT suggested using heel lifts while transitioning into two shoes, and I’ve been really happy with the 1/2 inch lifts I got off Amazon. They provide more lift, pain relief, and comfort than both versions of Dr. Scholl’s gel heel lifts I found online. Rather than carry around a crutch for longer walks, I found this $10 expandable hiking pole. This ice wrap also rocks.

My healing continues to progress. I graduated from home dumbbell and ab exercises to Nautilus machines at the gym. It’s located on the same Navy base as my tot’s day care, so I stop in for an hour or so after dropping her off in the mornings. Most days, I’ll also practice walking barefoot in our community pool. It’s been really nice to leverage my paternity leave for Achilles rehabilitation.

While doing Theraband exercises this afternoon, I felt some scar tissue loosen up on the inside of my ankle, followed by a couple degree increase in dorsiflexion ROM. So that was neat.

I’ve had one PT appointment since the last time I posted. He added one-legged stands, forward and back rocking, and half squats - all while holding a chair for balance - to my exercise routine. My unloaded, active plantar flexion is 20 degs (should be 30-45 degs), and my dorsiflexion falls short at 0 degs (should be -15 degs). His guidance for exercising as well as gait training was to move slowly, as this will lead to better results in the long term.

Did anyone else find wearing the Vaco rocker sole to be torture? I started using it at zero degrees, not the recommended 5 degrees, because it felt like it was excessively stretching my calf while standing. I occasionally hinged my Vaco cast, too, but did not find it to be especially helpful with gait training - certainly not as good as walking barefoot in the pool. It does strain and stretch the Achilles more than a locked position, though. I still appreciate the security of the boot when necessary, but for me, the discomfort of the rocker sole is serving as extra motivation to get into two shoes.

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