Day 54: 8 weeks post injury. That seems like a bit of a milestone.
I am happy to report that, in accordance with my plans and objectives, not much has happened lately. My primary goal has been to not re-injure myself, and I have so far been successful in that endeavor. Put another way: what I do now is less important than what I don’t do. I’m sort of celebrating the passing of each injury-free week at this point.
There have been lot’s of small incremental improvements.
* Walking: I’ve been in 2 shoes for nearly 3 weeks now. My stride and gait continue to improve. I still have to think about rolling my foot onto my toes sometimes, but it’s becoming more natural. I go for a dedicated walk, almost every day, usually around 2 miles. I do live in Utah- and so I’m starting to incorporate some serious hills into those walks.
Near the start of one of my routes (steeper than it looks)
Curiously, I’m finding it easier to walk uphill than downhill- which makes no sense at all. This has always been the case, even when I was FWB in the boot. I’m also doing some walking on uneven trails/dirt.
About mid way through a 3-mile hike
On the steeper downhills, I can now do a half-hearted jog, and I’m thinking this may be my future transitional route to running- slowly decreasing the decline, until I can run on a flat surface, and eventually uphill.
I guess the last thing to mention here is that I’ve incorporated backwards walking, on a treadmill, into my rehab routine. I find that it allows better awareness of how I’m executing the foot roll- and I can focus on keeping my heel elevated for as long as possible as my foot comes under me.
* Calf: The muscle tone is much improved. There is still a big difference between the two sides, but for the 8-week mark, I am honestly very happy with the state of my calf muscle.
Definite signs of atrophy. But given what I’ve been through, I think this looks pretty darn good.
Differences in the contour too; but I’m confident this will eventually come back-
* Strength: I really don’t know. I haven’t been testing the strength of my calf and Achilles. I can feel improvement while walking/cycling/etc., but don’t plan to stress it for a while.
* Flexibility: I have no problem extending my toes fully downward. Toes up flexibility is still limited (that’s good, I think), but I’m slowly working on it. I can push my knee to the wall (barefoot, heel on the ground) consistently now, which is a big improvement.
Flexibility is improving, but there is still a big difference between my two legs here.
* Conditioning: I continue to swim, and have been swimming with a masters swim team. It’s probably good for me to participate in something I am so inept at. My inefficiency in the pool makes this really hard for me, which is most likely just what I need.
I’ve also found a new machine at the gym:
It’s called an Adaptave Motion Trainer, and it’s been an awesome rehab machine for me. I’m able to go near cardio/leg failure, without hurting my Achilles. But, I’m also able to dynamically dial in - just with my stride- as much Achilles participation as I want, so I’m getting benefit there too. If you can find access to one, I recommend trying it.
* Cycling: I’ve ridden outside a few more times. Realistically, my cycling season is over, but it is still nice to get outside occasionally- taking advantage of the last nice days of fall here. For the most part, I’d say I’m just simulating the spin bike, using the wide range of gears available on a mountain bike to keep myself in a narrow rpm(high)/torque(low) range. I haven’t gone off road, or done much more than 10 miles at a time.
Dirt roads don’t count as “off road”
I still start almost every day with a ~20min session on an indoor spin bike. I’m now able to go hard enough to really elevate my heart rate and break a good sweat. The rare day when I skip this reminds me just how much it’s helping to improve my mobility, reducing soreness and stiffness.
* Driving: Fortunately, just prior to my injury, I purchased a car with an automatic transmission, and roomy footwell. I was able to drive it, “lefty”, starting about a week after my surgery. I switched from left foot to right foot driving concurrent with the move back to two shoes. I still catch myself - rarely - doing a left foot brake; I think it’s just habit. Within the last week, I’ve started driving my manual transmission cars again.
I’m happy to have salvaged a little bit of the fall driving season.
I’ve even toyed with - but so far resisted - the idea of getting back on a motorcycle. The one I ride the most is an old 1200cc kick-start, and I just don’t think there’s any way I can (safely) start it right now. It’s hurt me before; without this injury. Most likely, I’ll just be 4-wheeling it until the spring.
* Wound/Incision/Scar: you can see it in the calf picture above. It’s fully closed, and not causing me any pain or problems. PT continues to work on it once or twice a week.
*Nutrition: I’m still strictly adhering to the plan I started shortly after surgery. When this is over, I may never eat Jello again.
Common wisdom seems to be that the tendon takes 3 to 4 months to heal. So, I’ve got at least another month in front me before I’ll feel comfortable starting to push it hard. Until then, more injury prevention, small incremental improvements, range of motion work, and conditioning are on my menu.
I guess that’s all for now!