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Months Three and Four: Summary

A brief recap of the third and fourth months, during which life has assumed its normal shape in most ways, but I’m not yet back to sports.

Rehab: For most of this, it’s been a combination of regaining mobility, trying to build strength, and working to get my balance back in the bad leg. The pool was a substantial boon; walking, running, calf raises, all doable in water, even before I could come close on dry land (and I’m quite light, I’d imagine the benefits would be more significant if I were larger). Physical therapy about once a week, give or take. The mobility came back quickly; I chose to continue sleeping in the boot, so as to avoid having my toe pointed all night, and that really helped. At some point that got old, and I invested in a sock that basically does the same thing (designed for plantar fasciatis). Strength has taken much, much longer. Still waiting on a one-legged calf-raise at four months.

Life: Month three remained awkward. Walking long distances (more than a mile at a time, or more than 4 miles in a day) was uncomfortable, my gait was uneven, stairs were slow. The fourth month, though, saw things move relatively rapidly towards pre-injury normal. I could drive a stick comfortably by the end of week 12 (using my injured leg on the clutch), and started biking again (both alone and on a large cargo-bike with my daughter, groceries etc. on the back) in week 15 (that could have happened earlier, but I chose to be cautious with the possibility of a weighted fall). By week 16, most everything in terms of house and work and so forth were more or less normal.

Sports: Essentially, I can neither run nor jump — so sports, not happening in any meaningful fashion. Because I can’t pop-up with much strength (that is, I can only slowly step to my feet), I’m still not surfing. And because box-jumps, burpees, running, and any sort of split-lift won’t work, I haven’t rejoined Crossfit workouts. Basic strength-training is fine, though, at least so long as I’m flat-footed. Squats, strict presses, bench presses, deadlifts, pull-ups, pushups, sit-ups — all fine. And I’m swimming for conditioning. My hope is that the next two months will — finally — allow me to move back into a normal routine of Crossfit (modified to avoid double-unders and box-jumps, for a while at least) and surfing.

8 Comments

  1. atr2014 wrote:

    Thanks for the update as I am now 12 weeks post-op and am still unsure of what to expect in the next month. It seems I am doing a lot of the same things you are with exercise (haven’t tried swimming only because the idea of being visible in a swimsuit in front of other people scares me). I can’t wait to go back to CF - I had just used up all my passes prior to my injury and since I hurt my Achilles doing DUs, it will be a LONG time before I attempt those again. I know I shouldn’t be scared (once I am healed and 100%) but the idea of ever having to go through this again is …. well, I’m sure you know how I feel.

    Thanks again for posting. I love reading blogs by those who are ahead of me in terms of recovery.

    Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink
  2. normofthenorth wrote:

    After 12-ish weeks, the risk of doing it again shifts from THAT leg to the OTHER one. Doesn’t go away completely unless you’ve done both sides, sorry! But you are allowed to forget about it beforehand.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink
  3. simplesanj wrote:

    I’m going to face some significant mental hurdles when I get back to sports — the idea of jumping off either leg is terrifying at the moment, as I’m all too aware of their fragility (especially the uninjured one). My PT says that at some point, jumping rope counts as good rehab therapy. But I’ll be happy enough when those are urgent concerns.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  4. davidk wrote:

    Simplesanj, I understand your fears as I had them myself. What really helped me was having my PT guide me over a period of weeks to jumping. We started by using a shuttle device that simulates jumping while laying on your back–it’s spring loaded and can be adjusted to vary the resistance. Next they had me lightly jump on a mini-trampoline. These were both lower impact than jumping on a hard floor and gave me both experience and confidence with jumping once again. Before graduating me, my PTs had me doing single-leg long jumps and sticking the landing–and I had no fear of re-rupture. Move forward incrementally and your confidence will build. Good luck! -David

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
  5. simplesanj wrote:

    Thanks David. My PT plans the same basic steps — we’ve played around with trampolines and so forth, as well as the reformer/spring device. But the hops and jumps can’t happen until I have a single-leg lift, and I’m not there yet. As I said, I’ll be quite happy when mental, rather than physical, hurdles are the main concern

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  6. peterg wrote:

    Hi Simplesanj, I dont know if it will help you but check out what I have done to get the strength required to do heel lifts, I’m a go after it type of person and I came up with it myself and it worked for me in 2 weeks.

    Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
  7. Jolyn wrote:

    I’m now 16 weeks out of having a calcium deposit removed from my heel and then they repaired my achilles tendon. I’m still having pain after being on it all day. Along with redness and warm to the touch. I’m tired of walking with a limp :( Did you have any of this?

    Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink
  8. simplesanj wrote:

    Jolyn - I don’t get redness (my skin doesn’t easily redden) or heat. There’s a little swelling and pain if, for example, I’ve done a lot of walking (especially up steep hills, of which there are several in my vicinity). But in general, it’s my sense that inflammation and discomfort are pretty routine even at this stage.

    Monday, October 13, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

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