#1) Ask 100 doctors how this injury should be treated, and you’ll probably get 100 different answers. Surgery or not surgery? Cast, Splint, or Boot? Early mobilization, or strict immobilization? When to start weight-bearing? etc. Toss in physical therapy approaches, and there is a whole other level of variation. My takeaway is that the medical community really hasn’t settled on the best course of action. That leaves us - the patient - in a bit of predicament. How do we pick the recovery route to follow? My advice is to do a lot of research: learn what you can about the different protocols and their results. See what fits you in terms of your injury, your goals, your commitment to rehab, your experience base with injuries, etc. Read what other bloggers have been through, how their doctors/therapists have treated the injury, and what the results have been. Design a plan, and then implement it. Understand that this means accepting responsibility for your result.
Others will advocate a passive approach, trusting that your doctor, and the protocol he/she has chosen- is automatically the best. That’s OK too. You might get lucky- and have a doctor who’s protocol ends up being just perfect for you. But, understand that there is risk with this approach too.
#2) Define what your goals are. What is your acceptable result? Define that end point: don’t let me, or anybody else, tell you what it should be. At what point will you be satisfied - willing to call yourself recovered? Is your goal to walk without a limp? To participate in some specific recreational activity? To compete as a professional athlete? Is there a date associated with this goal (maybe it’s to dance at your wedding)? Your recovery plan and schedule should be tailored towards achieving this goal. Accept that, despite your very best efforts, there is a chance the goal may not be achievable.
#3) Define as many incremental steps as possible- things you can measure to gauge your progress. If something isn’t working- make adjustments, don’t keep following a path which is yielding poor results.
Keep a daily log. Measure your progress in as many different ways as possible. Strive to make some tiny incremental improvement almost every day, and record it. There will be days when it seems you’re not making improvements- having this record to look back on will help you see the bigger picture.
Getting to two shoes is a significant milestone. Rejoice when you get there. But, understand it’s probably (depending on your goal) the first of many big steps towards total recovery.
#4) Most of your questions won’t have an answer. Ask your doctor. Ask your therapist. Ask people who’ve been through this. Listen to your body. It’s going to be up to you to aggregate all of that info into something that makes sense. Be very disciplined: avoid hearing only what you want to hear.
#5) Sometimes what you do will be less important than what you don’t do. There will probably be a couple of months where your biggest, most important task will simply be: do not get careless.
#6) Nutrition matters.
#7) Stay active. Get on a spin bike (daily) as soon as you can. Swim. Do as much PWB and FWB walking as possible (miles).
#8) Stay positive. Celebrate accomplishments and milestones. Don’t fret the things you still can’t do; attention should be given to those things when you can do them… just think of them as future celebrations.
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