10 weeks post-op. Shoes and clearance to drive.

Wow, an hour-long wait for a 5 minute visit and here I am - cleared for 2 shoes and driving. I tried unsuccessfully not to get my hopes up so I’m very glad everything worked out.

The doctor recommended easing in to the unbooted life. I think I’ll follow my physical therapist’s suggestion of starting with an hour a day of practice at home. I can use my son’s nap time as a safe hour or two to walk around without fear of toys, cats, or the toddler chasing them tripping me up. I’ll probably keep the boot on when I go outside. Our front yard has soft soil and enough small depressions to make me nervous right now, and I’m not confident enough to manage curbs, stairs, etc. when we’re out and about elsewhere.

The driving thing was anticlimactic. I went in halfway expecting to face some kind of crazy test - jumping jacks! vertical leap! - but it was almost an afterthought. The doc said he tells patients they can drive whenever they feel comfortable. He didn’t have any firm rules or major concerns. I could have asked at my visit 3 weeks ago and he would have said the same thing! I don’t think I was ready then so it’s probably for the best that I didn’t get ahead of myself.

I decided to give my original PT place one more try. I have an appointment tomorrow. I’m hoping that they’ll modify the plan a bit now that I have my doctor’s permission to take off the boot.

I forgot to mention last week that occasional bouts of fatigue still surprise me. It happened more in the early days, but even now I’ll have a day where I’m dog tired for no apparent reason. I guess it’s the healing and recovering and PT work catching up with me.

Here’s a random gadget I’ve found useful over the past month if anyone gets sore feet: a Moji foot massager. I got one a few years ago because it felt so nice after a long run. At this point in my recovery both feet tend to be quite sore at the end of the day; the Moji is awesome for relieving all the aches and tension. (I swear I’m not on their payroll!) Anyway, if anyone has found the standard tennis ball or golf ball foot massage lacking, you might give it a try. I have to use it every night or I get cranky.

14 Responses to “10 weeks post-op. Shoes and clearance to drive.”

  1. Congrats on getting the go ahead for 2 shoes and driving! My weaning out of the boot starts next week - I’m looking forward to that (I think!). My doctor told me to spend 2 weeks gradually weaning out of the boot, and my PT is going to help me figure out exactly how to do that. Your plan to use nap time sounds like a good one.
    I still get knocked over by fatigue coming out of nowhere too. That’s just part of the healing process, I’ve found with various different surgeries.
    That foot massager looks awesome!
    Good luck with physio tomorrow. Let us know how it goes. I just got back from an appointment - got a bunch of new exercises to do. And I got to ride the bike for the first time - went almost 4km - it was AWESOME!! Gotta get this flimsy left leg back in shape!!

  2. Thanks, shell! I have to say, it’s hard to strap the boot back on after a taste of freedom. I know I should…but just a few more minutes, please.

    My favorite part about the 2-shoes clearance is that it’s the arbitrary milestone I told myself I had to reach before doing any shoe shopping. I figure a proper recovery demands some nice new shoes so it’s time to get the Amazon truck backed up to the house for some shoe testing this weekend. :)

  3. Your post made me chuckle….
    When I was at physio today, I was putting my boot back on (I do my physio in shoes) and one of the other therapists said, I bet you hate putting that back on. I said they I didn’t - and I don’t! It’s so cozy and supportive and my ankle is much happier in there. I guess I’m just not ready for 2 shoes yet, at almost 8 weeks. But I’m not due to transition until next Wednesday.

    As for the 2 shoes clearance…I had been also waiting for “the big day” to buy a new pair of shoes. And I even knew the pair I wanted. Well…..the store I was planning on buying from has a 20% off everything sale for the long weekend. EVERYTHING!! I couldn’t pass that up! So I went today and got my cute, pink, Dainty Converse shoes. Yup, I’m a girly girl, with pink shoes!! I actually had to order them as they didn’t have my size in that colour, but that’s O.k, I’m not wearing 2 shoes yet anyway.
    It seems, whatever the injury, whatever the protocol, with all the differences in our surgeon’s and PT’s, we all go through basically the same stages at basically the same times!
    Happy shoe shopping to you! Let us know what you get!

    Oh ya, and that fatigue we were talking about earlier…..I was halfway through emptying the dishwasher, when hubby found me crumpled on the chair beside it. He did the rest. Now I’m horizontal, with achy foot elevated, watching baseball. There might be some snoozing!

  4. Congrats PJ!

    When my doc told me to go 2-shoes he said start with 25% of the day in shoes for one week, 50% of the time in shoes for another week, then 75% of the time in shoes for the last week. The last week turned into 1/2 a week - LOL! I just didn’t feel the need for the boot anymore. Anyway that schedule worked well for me. Of course everyone is different. :)

    And the only test my doc did for driving was for me to push on his hand like I was hitting the breaks. As long as that push had enough strength he was OK with me driving.

    And it’s weird how the foot feels different as time progresses. Had to hang with my mom in the ER today (she dislocated her hip) and the base of my heel kept sending me twinges. No stress on it since Tuesday’s swimming since yesterday was my no-exercise day. I massaged the heel and tendon while in “hurry up and wait” mode for them to put her hip back in place. Guess the bone is still getting used to it’s new size still - LOL! No exercise for me today - gotta keep an eye on mom while she sleeps off the pain meds.

  5. @cserpent - I hope your mom’s recovery is going okay. A dislocated hip (and putting it back) sounds awful. I might go with the 25/50/75 plan. Or the hourly plan. Who knows?! My doctor is so vague about stuff that I have to combine suggestions and develop my own custom timeline.

    @shell37 - glad I’m not the only shoe shopper! I was surprised that I kept the boot off so long today. I, too, have been pretty comfortable in my boot overall. Even slept in it without problems all this time. Somehow today I just wanted it out of the picture for a couple hours, though. I’ll try not wearing it tonight…not sure how that will go. My casts were so awful that I instantly bonded with my boot and it’ll definitely be strange not having my foot safe in there.

    Funny thing about today is that I felt more comfortable practicing in shoes than I did on my quick test drive around the neighborhood. I expected the opposite to be true - I was so pumped about driving and kind of scared of walking around. I’ll see how it all feels tomorrow. I think I was getting a little stiff and swollen this evening and that made the pedal-pushing feel extra weird. It also didn’t help that my neighbor’s cat shot out in front of me as I eased down the road. An instant break check to start things off! (Fortunately everyone came out of that in one piece.)

  6. Thanks PJ - my mom is back at home and sleeping soundly. She slept off most of the pain killers at our house but wanted to go home this evening :) It is very painful until they get it back in place.

    Glad your driving went OK - it is sooo nice to get that added freedom! My first 2 weeks driving I could only wear shoes when I drove. But I was OK with that since I got to drive myself! LOL!

  7. PT update - mostly the same stuff today, but the good news is that the next two weeks’ appointments are all in the pool. I’m hoping that’ll be a nice treat…especially since it’s already near 90 on most days here.

  8. Another one that gets to go in the pool! And 90 degrees - my favourite kind of weather!! I’m doubly jealous!!! I told my PT I have 5 things I want to have happen in the immediate future…ditch the crutches, get out of the boot, ride a bike, walk in bare feet, and get back in the pool! She let me ride the stationary bike. The rest we’re still working on.
    Enjoy your pool time! And your 90 degrees!

  9. Shell - For me bare feet don’t happen until month 4. Doc was very adamant about that - LOL! Fortunately I can wear my high heel clogs with bare feet since they have enough lift between toe and heel to qualify as “lifts”. At least I can just slip those on at night if I have to visit the loo. Better than lacing on tennies.

    I’m curious to find out what PT is done in the pool PJ :)

  10. Ya, cserpent, my PT didn’t seem optimistic on the bare feet happening anytime soon. But, a girl can dream! And judging by how sore my ankle was today for the few minutes I was in shoes to do my exercises, it’s probably a dream I’ll have to shelf for awhile!

  11. I’m curious about the pool PT, too. Apparently the PT place reserves hours at the YMCA pool each week. Then they have someone there to work with patients in some kind of group pool party (my term, not theirs). I hope I get a pool noodle and a fruity drink!

    I hadn’t been warned about not walking in bare feet, but I can see why it would be good to avoid it. I tried a few steps without shoes and it doesn’t feel good at all - it reminded me of the sick feeling I got when I tried to walk immediately after the injury. From now on it’s shoes or the boot for me. That was a good reminder (as if I needed another) of how much work is left to be done.

  12. Ha! A group pool party!! There really should be cocktails! Actually, cocktails would make all PT better!!!
    I did pool PT last summer after my first surgery. It consisted of walking- forward, backward and side to side, heel raises, squats, some leg exercises for the hamstrings, quads, adductor and abductors, step ups, which I couldn’t do because the pool I go to only has ladders, and treading. I had a very small window where I could also do some flutter kicking with a flutter board. That was between when my ankle felt good enough after my surgery and before it started going down hill again leading up to this one. I did laps, with a pull buoy (so, no kicking) in between all the exercises so I didn’t get cold. Be careful though, the exercises seem like nothing when you’re in the water, but I always felt it later.
    I know what you mean about the not so subtle reminders that rear their ugly heads. Just when I think to myself that my ankle is doing pretty well, it says, uh uh uh…not so fast!

  13. I’m sure the bare foot warning is also to avoid stress fractures until the muscles/ligaments/bones are stronger after all the babying they’ve had. :) I did do barefoot walking in the pool since my foot is gets less weight on it in water. :) I practiced good walking form. I’m looking forward to when I can wear my crocs and favorite sandals again! I made my own heel lift to wear with my croc in the shower - but it’s too much of a kludge to wear in real life. Next month is when I have the OK to do away with the heel lift - assuming my foot is OK with that :) I’ll wait until my PT appointment on 6/2 to decide what/when I ditch next. I’m sure my PT can assess things more objectively than I can - ha!

  14. Congrats on getting into 2 shoes PJ. Once you eventually get out of the house in the shoes you will notice how uneven sidewalks and concrete is! Something we never notice when walking with no injury.

    It’s cool your PT place has pool agreement with the gym. I wish I had pool PT. You should try to do some swimming with pull buoy while you are there. The upper body feels amazing doing something normal at that stage. I think I commented on shell’s post about swimming, but the comment got flagged for moderation by the system somehow..

    Oh, and interesting foot “toy”. I have been using the spiky massage ball on feet and it is doing wonders for my feet until this day. I have never seen before the one you posted.

    Good luck with the walking!

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