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14 Weeks: Recovery Part I

At this point, progress seems fairly linear. Range of motion and strength continue to improve, with some distance yet to go. I’ve been able to walk up to 4 miles in a day, with only minor discomfort. Driving a manual transmission (operating the clutch with my recovering leg) has been going fine for a week now, and my gait is relatively even. Still not enough strength to lift my body on my repaired calf, though the two legged lifts are coming along nicely. I wonder a bit if I’ve suffered some permanent loss of function, but it’s possible that I’m just recovering more slowly than some others.

Sports-wise, I’m running in the pool, but not on land. I’ve started swimming to improve conditioning, while adding light lower-body work at the gym, including:

Rowing (light resistance)
Squats (no weight)
Lunges (no weight)
Deadlifts (light weight)
Kettlebell Swings (light weight)
Push presses (light weight)


  1. normofthenorth wrote:

    Sounds good to me! :-)

    Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 1:50 am | Permalink
  2. Pegleg wrote:

    Ditto …sounds like you are making good progress. Think it’s FAR too early to be thinking loss of function. I am two weeks ahead of you and doing very similar exercises but can now also do a VERY small one legged lift, this has only just happened in the last week so just Keep positive!

    Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink
  3. janis wrote:

    I wondered the same when I couldn’t do a one-legged calls raise at about that point. I was barely doing one when I finished PT and went back to work. I can do it easily now; can’t even remember when that happened. I know it improved significantly when I started exaggerating the heel to toe movements on my walks to include a heel to up on my tippy toe with each stride of my op foot. Looked a little silly, I can’t say I did it when other people were around. Still, it produced results!

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink
  4. normofthenorth wrote:

    One surprising thing is the difference in strength required to do various “heel raises” that might seem pretty identical. Like:
    - a straight-knee 1LHR;
    - a bent-knee 1LHR;
    - a perfectly normal fast-walking long stride, with a good pushoff;
    - a “silly walk” (as you describe), where you rise up onto your toes at the end of each stride.
    - Good performance in explosive athletics that SEEM to require AT-&-calf strength, like volleyball, basketball, other court sports, soccer, etc.

    The bent-knee 1LHR (or rolling forward onto your toes with your knee bent) is probably a pretty pure Soleus test, so it would be easy for many ATR folks whose weakness is in the Gastroc.

    For the others, I became capable of striding normally at high speed (and long stride length) first. I think the “silly walk” came second, though good sports performance came surprisingly early, too. On one side, I still can’t do a good straight-knee 1lHR, and presumably never will. It’s a good exercise and a clear strength test, though I don’t think the results of that test are very meaningful for the rest of your activities.

    I could have added a good “2 up, 1 down” to the list — not sure exactly where it fits in. “2 up” — a 2LHR — is clearly easier than the others, but holding your weight up on one leg (even to drop down slowly) is much harder.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

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