oscillot’s AchillesBlog

Week 12 update: Gait training

07/29/2015 · 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.

Categories: Uncategorized

4 responses so far ↓

  • buddy670 // Jul 29th 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Oscillot, my man, looks like we have a lot in common. We had surgery the same day, you live in sunny San Diego and I Live in Tampa, Fl. I’m curious where you got that data about most re ruptures 86% happening before 12 weeks. I’m always looking for data like that and I never could find anything. Great news for us though……

  • oscillot // Jul 29th 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Buddy, I read so many studies in those early recovery weeks. All had slightly different numbers and methodologies, and most had relatively small sample sizes, but overwhelmingly re-ruptures (same side, obviously) happened in the first three months. Many speculate this is because the surgeries weren’t done well in the first place, but as always it’s tough to definitively prove causation.

    If you’re looking for some light reading, start here, then Google out.
    http://achillesblog.com/atr-rehab-protocols/

  • edhdez // Jul 30th 2015 at 8:26 am

    Hi oscillot! I’m at 20º FWB at 6 weeks, I was wondering when to change from the Wedge to the Rocker sole. I find the wedge sole to be way too high and makes it difficult to get a good gait walking pattern. Does anybody on VACOcast have any tips about it? Does it make any difference to go early or late to the Rocker? Does it make a diffrence on the healing? Or is it just a comfort issue? Thanks and it is good to see your progress, keep up the healing!!!

  • oscillot // Jul 30th 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Ed, as pictured in my 7/9 post, the rocker sole seems to also cut ~10-15 degs off plantar flexion, which further stretches your calf and Achilles. Despite Oped’s recommendation to switch at 5 degs, I could not get comfortable in it until after a week or so at 0 degs in the boot with the wedge sole. By then, I was already standing and shuffling around the house in bare feet.

    I still wear the boot (hinging from 20 to -5) with the rocker when outdoors for protection, but it is actually more of a challenge to walk than 2 shoes because of the stretch.

    Hope this helps, and happy healing!

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