oscillot’s AchillesBlog

Week 12 update: Gait training

July 29th, 2015 · 4 Comments

I still wear the boot when leaving the house, but my gait got much better this week. My PT instructed me to focus on pushing off with the calf during my pool walks, rather than taking micro steps with my foot always in front of me, or over-stretching the achilles by keeping the back heel on the ground. The first couple times I did this, I felt pressure, and my ankle swole up pretty good, but I gradually progressed from 5 ft depth to 3.5 ft depth over the course of 3 days. Now if I put all of my strength into all five toes, I can do this on land without pain. My strides are still shorter than normal, but the limp has faded away like Keyser Soze’s. Amazing!

This stage of healing has also coincided with more balance / proprioception work. I started standing on each leg for five seconds at a time (30 reps/day on each side), then graduated to doing this on a pillow, and by the end of the week I expect to get permission from my PT to do this on a bosu ball. I never realized how useful those stabilizer muscles in the ankle and inner foot are when pushing off.

Every day, I feel scar tissue breaking up, with an immediate increase in ROM. Neither side is very good, but the injured side is suddenly approaching the “good” side, so that’s encouraging. Now that I’ve passed the 12 week milestone in which 86% of re-ruptures occur, I’ll experiment with going bootless outdoors, while being extra careful when climbing inclines or going down stairs.

To those of you who are earlier in your healing, keep at it! The gains come really quickly after the first few weeks of PT (third month for me). Once your body allows you to ditch the crutches, then the boot, and finally the limp, you’ll be back to living an almost normal life.

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