Six month update.

I’m a few days late with this - September 10 marked six months since my surgery. It’s more difficult to measure progress these days. It takes a bigger event or outing to test my leg because I can get through most day-to-day stuff without too much trouble.

Last week we faced a potential evacuation for Hurricane Irma. I thought we might have to board up our windows, which meant getting big sheets of plywood out of the attic and bringing them downstairs. Moving all of the sheets put a fair amount of stress on my ankle and Achilles. Everything was sore that day and the next. We never put up any plywood because the storm turned enough to spare us the worst parts — it all became a creative workout, and I can’t complain about that. Anything is better than boarding up and leaving town. I was happy to come out of the experience feeling like my leg could hold up to moderate to heavy lifting.

Just yesterday I tried jogging for five or six 30-second intervals in the park. I wasn’t planning on it, but after I walked over there (about 10 minutes at my son’s pace) I felt good so I have it a shot. I can’t say that it felt normal at all, but it was a good outing nonetheless. I probably could have run some more, actually, and there haven’t been any negative effects today. So that was a nice milestone: it was the first time in 6 months that I was able to play outside with my son like I used to.

Of course, my Achilles is still stiff each morning and it takes a round of calf raises to walk halfway normally. There’s still random pain off and on, and my knee aches at random times, presumably from altered gait mechanics. I’ve focused more on eccentric calf raises lately and that seems to have paid off. I miss the sense of springiness and bounce in my leg. Playing a sport like tennis, with a lot of quick movements, might be farther out on the horizon. But seeing some decent improvement over the last two weeks has given me more hope. Plus, I have to remember that back in April I seriously doubted whether I’d be able to run at all this year.

Once again, good luck to everyone else and try to stay positive!

6 Responses to “Six month update.”

  1. Glad to hear your family is safe and you are renewing the old/fun activities!

    I’m new to this site and am 10 1/2 weeks post-op. I’m working on that normal walk. I’m very pleased with my progress (was even released from PT 2 weeks after the boot came off!), It still takes those toe raises (and sometimes slowing down my “good” leg) before I can walk w/o a limp.

    My goal is to get back to walking for exercise (1-3 miles was my normal a couple of times a week). I’ve done .5 miles (focusing on the gait, not speed or distance) for 3 days in the past week. Another goal (to support my first) is to do single heel raises on my bad side. I know I will get there…not sure how high or long though. Lol.

    Any words of wisdom would be appreciated for this newby-in-recovery.

    Susan

  2. Hi Susan - It sounds like you’re doing great. Congratulations on getting through almost three months of this (I think that’s the toughest period of time).

    I think walking is one of the best things you can do, and it’s especially nice in a pool if you have access to one. I also like riding an exercise bike. It gets my ankle moving and flexing a bit, and also works my entire leg. I felt like I lost a ton of strength in my quadriceps during the non-weightbearing phase.

    Do you have any swelling issues? I wore a compression sock until the fourth month or so.

    I’m sure you have some PT advice for the coming weeks/months regarding strengthening. I started with 2-footed calf raises with my good leg doing most of the work, and then I gradually shifted more and more weight to my healing leg. Now I do them on the edge of a step and add the eccentric raises (or drops) to the mix. I always feel much better after doing the exercises, and if I skip a day I can really tell. I get stiff and sore and can’t walk as smoothly.

    I also try to gauge my progress going up and down stairs as another marker of improvement. I can keep my weight up on my toes/ball of my foot now, so going down the stairs means I can land on each step about equally. Don’t know if that makes any sense. Basically, I’m not clomping down with my right foot anymore because I can bear more weight in that flexed position. I try to keep my heel up.

    That’s about all the advice I have, aside from being careful because you’re still relative early in the healing process. A lot of people here point to 12 weeks as a milestone in that regard…I didn’t start feeling confident in my Achilles/calf until well after that.

  3. Thanks PJHalifax! I have been walking in a pool twice but I don’t have easy access. It felt great though! And thanks for the info about the stairs. I’ve been avoiding my basement like the plague. Perhaps I need to start getting down there.

  4. Oh, and, luckily, I have had only minor issues with swelling. I still sleep with my injured ankle wrapped in an ice pack and above my heart. I sometimes ice for a bit when I get home from work. I have very little pain as this point at well. Just leg/ankle fatigue and a quick return of stiffness if I sit for a little bit and don’t stretch my ankle before I get back up. (I’m in IT so I sit a lot.)

    My PT said most ankles are 3x + their size at this stage. Whew that I haven’t had that issue! Concentrating on a proper gait is hard enough without swelling or pain.

    Thanks again for your tips.

  5. Hi PJHalifax, glad to hear your recovery is going well And for your 6 month now. All the best going forward.

  6. Glad you’re doing well PJ! I’m at 7 months and now I’m working more on my leg strength than I am on my achilles. I played 2 soccer games in a tournament and it was my IT band (on both legs) that got tired, not my achilles. So I’m still working on getting back the strength I lost - in both legs apparently! I can do as many calf raises on my surgery foot as on the good foot but they still aren’t as easy. All we can do is keep doing the exercises to strengthen everything. :)

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