2 months in

Its been 9 weeks since my surgery and I’ve been doing PT for the past 3 weeks. The first few weeks were primarily ankle range of motion and leg exercises — my achilles was still very fat and with such little use, it felt incredibly tight , even when just standing on it. But the range of motion exercises really loosen that feeling up. The current challenge is the calf strengthening exercises. Ironically, when I first tore my achilles, there was no sharp or tearing type of pain — it just popped like a rubber band snapping. But the current calf exercises that have me going on the balls of my feet (using two feet) and slowly coming down on my bad ankle literally feels like someone is ripping my achilles. Sharp, knife like pain that makes me sweat and my ankle throb after a few reps. Apparently, that is the tendon stretching and/or the fibers realigning themselves because they have healed in a hodgepodge of directions.

Is this what other people felt when they first started doing calf strengthening exercises? I’m probably pushing it a bit more than I should by putting most of my weight on the foot as it pushes up, but I wanted to see how weak it really was. Overall, I think its starting to get stronger, but this is the first serious pain that I’ve felt since the surgery and hope that its one of those “growing pains” in the rehab.

6 Responses to “2 months in”

  1. Yeah, those exercises were pretty rough for me as well. I think I started with seated calf raises around 9 or 10 weeks, then standing calf raises maybe around 12 weeks or so. I didn’t start coming down solely on my repaired leg until after that.

    My injury was the same way - a gnarly pop but no major pain. I kept expecting it to hurt and it never did. Then the PT exercises ended up hurting.

    Congrats on getting into the 3rd month of rehab. I got a real boost around that point because I started to see some progress after so much sitting around immobilized.

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  3. I would avoid doing anything that causes sharp pain unless your PT and/or doctor say it’s OK. I’ve certainly had muscle soreness type of pain with calf raises but nothing truly painful. There are various exercises you can do to control how much weight to put on your bad leg which your PT can show you. Strengthening your calf muscles will take many months, so you’ll have to do it in lots of baby steps.

  4. My PT guy said if it hurts stop. Things are still healing so you don’t want to reinjure anything. When I started calf raises I first laid my torso on the bed so very little weight was on my foot. Then moved to leaning with my elbows on a counter, then to being mostly upright but holding a lot weight in my hands on a counter. You basically start with as little weight on your foot as possible (of course the very first thing was sitting calf raises, first with no weight, then adding weight to the leg as I was directed) and move to being upright in the end. As emupilot said - your PT should be telling you all these things. If s/he isn’t you should find another PT.

  5. thanks for the advice — I will talk to my PT and scale things back away from the sharp pain exercises

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