Muscle Loss : How to even up!?


I’m not sure how to rotate pictures here…I had a hard time getting this picture to load in the first place! Anyways, as you can see, my left leg has significantly shrunk compared to my right (And please don’t mind my socks~hehe).

My question is: What are the best exercises to even up this muscle loss? I’m still on week 9 so doing heel raises is a little difficult. When I do start strength training the calves, do I just do the left leg and ignore training the right leg for a while? OR do I still work both of them out the same?

How has everyone else dealt with the muscle atrophy?

The good news is my range of motion is getting pretty good. When I point my toes, it’s pretty much even with the right. When I flex my feet, although I feel the right is still more flexible, it looks almost even!

I’ve been going to the gym quite a bit. I’ve been using the stationary bike, elliptical and power walking on the treadmill, while doing what I can with weights (upper body, core and some squats without weight…and it feels DAMN GOOD to be back in the gym.

The funny thing is I weighed myself the other day, expecting to see a shocking increase in my weight. However, it’s true what they say, muscle weighs much more than fat. My weight actually went down, while my body composition became…well, jiggly and fatter (in the wrong places). Sigh. Time to get back on the grind and work on building that muscle back first thing.

On a completely unrelated note, does anyone use supplements pre and post work out that they can recommend? All I am using at the moment is Whey Protein powder for shakes after the gym. Anything to get more out of my workouts would be awesome!

Hope everyone is healing well! And although it seems like the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away, I do see flickers here and there.

** Sorry for being all over the place in this post! :)


#1 lodinpdx on 08.28.13 at 8:48 pm

Your legs look great!! The atrophy is a bummer the muscles vanish in no time but seem to take a long time to come back. I feel like I work my calves whenever I can and yet my right is still smaller…getting a little better but still smaller.

I am slightly obsessed so… work on my calves - I do double leg heel raises ALL the time. Standing in line - heel raises. brushing my teeth heel raises. These feel like nothing now but I figure the more I do the better. I also do “heel raises” on the leg press. I can drop the weight way down and do just the one leg. When I spin I do a song or two with just the one leg. There is also a calf machine thing at the gym I do both and then extra with my one. I just started doing cheater single leg heel raises as in I use my arms a lot to hike myself up. And my PT just gave me double up single down. In the pool I “jump” off my bad leg. I would do everything and anything to get the strength back!! :)

As for recovery drinks. We have a bunch of those from my husband. I had my son (an XC runner) meet with a sports nutritionist she said the best things if you can tolerate is really chocolate milk. He was happy with that. I am big believer in coconut water and weirdo kombucha. Funny my son won’t touch either of them!! As for protein I try to get it from food, nuts are a great source. The recovery drinks work but best to get things from real food whenever possible. And then finally probably the best supplement for us are the Omegas. (I was told that perhaps my Achilles ruptured cuz it was overused and all dried out……) I stick them in the freezer so I don’t burp up fish oil - someone taught me that trick and oh such a good one!

#2 kellygirl on 08.30.13 at 12:48 am

Looking good, Skim! Great question too. I hope some one chimes in with an answer. I’ve been doing heel lifts, spinning, walking hills and flats and while my leg is getting stronger, it still looks like a chicken leg compared to the other side. I have a feeling it is going to take a while.

Laughing about your jiggle. I noticed the same thing–lighter but jigglier :) Great update!

#3 mari on 09.16.13 at 2:12 pm

Word to the wise, don’t overdo it.
I’m 4 years post-op, retore it 2 years ago and had an injury last summer.
However all the muscle has come back in my calf.
I had a body composition test done at the Y and my legs are equal in strength and size.
And I lost a lot on my right leg!

#4 skim92 on 09.18.13 at 8:15 pm

Thanks for the tip Mari! I always wonder where the line is between not doing enough and pushing myself too much!
The thought of rerupture scares me so much! And the thought of rupturing my “good ankle”!
Sigh… 4 years post op… I wonder where I will be then lol
Hope ur healing well from ur injury!

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