May 14 2014

12 weeks!

Published by smick at 6:07 pm under Uncategorized

So today is officially twelve weeks post surgery! It’s very nice to move to months as my counting metric from now on and I’m sure my posting frequency will slow, The progress is going to be incremental and more steady work at this point, so hopefully not too much to share that is exciting!

I met with my PT today and my doctor last week so I feel like I have a pretty good sense of where I stand. Both said single leg raises are the goal to work towards. My doc thought 5 months would be an aggressive goal for them and my PT thought 6 months was more typical in her experience.

Here is my recap of the good and the bad/frustrating so far:

Good Stuff
- Solidly in two shoes at this point, including sleeping without my boot. It felt like giving up a security blanket! I will continue to use it when I do athletic activity I’m not permitted (playing catch with my son on a grass field for instance), but I anticipate it slowly starting to gather dust. I do wear it on the train for my commute home, but not in the mornings now when I am feeling strong.
- Strength is recovering, but I feel like my incremental gains are slowing. Four weeks ago I could press around 40 pounds on my scale. I got up to 100 pounds last week after three weeks, but in the past week I’ve only gained around 10 pounds of pressure. If that continues, its at least 8 more weeks to do a calf raise on that leg.
- Functionality is high - I feel like some semblance of my normal life has returned. My calf is shot by the end of the day and my tendon can get achy when I overdo it, requiring ice and taking it easy for a day, but I’m for the most part doing what I normally would do except for sports. Swimming and biking are the two things I can do right now.
- Scar has healed well and looks good.
- My walking for the first part of the day can look pretty good, although still no heel lift, but any limp is subtle at a slower pace

The Bad/Concerning:
- I still limp, unless I walk fairly slowly. I have to force myself to walk slower and in good form versus limp quickly, particularly on longer walks outdoors. I have to rewire my brain to stroll instead of walk!
- My calf endurance is weak and by 5pm I’m usually totally spent and the calf feels like a rubber band. My limp comes back and there is little push off.
- I still get aches and twinges on my tendon, particularly when I overdo it. I’m trying to be conscious of that but its frustrating that I have to slow my recovery pace down instead of being able to go full throttle.
- My dorsiflexion range is around the same as my good leg (actually 2 degrees higher at 12 degrees versus 10 degrees for my good leg). I’m listing this as a concern I am worried about healing long. My PT said I don’t need to actively stretch that leg and I probably need to stretch my other leg as my calf is likely tight.
- My core atrophied as I didn’t do enough PT work on it in the first 4 weeks. Starting to ramp that up now with more plank and core exercises, but it is really pitiful. My upper body is also likely a disaster as I did some infrequent push ups on my knees in the first 8 weeks only.

I will say for those earlier in the process that the frustrating plateau after two shoes is very aptly named. I know I’m getting better (slowly), but not seeing immediate results makes it hard to stay inspired! Thanks for all the help, support and guidance from this board so far and a special shout out to Norm for all he does!

Bonus shot of my ankle with the bump by my incision:
My ankle

10 Responses to “12 weeks!”

  1. davidkon 14 May 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Smick, thank you for this detailed report on your 3-month status. I’m 3-weeks behind you and it’s great to read to help set my own expectations for what’s next to come. I will begin a 2-week period of boot-weaning starting next week and am both anxious and nervous. I completely understand the frustration/lack of motivation that comes from reaching and then just holding a plateau. However, Ive now come to think that when it seems no progress is being made, quietly your body is building-up resources before it can make the next summit/recovery milestone. Thanks, also, for the upper-body reminder–I think I should go do some push-ups! -David

  2. smickon 14 May 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks davidk and best wishes!

    Edited my post to include a glamour shot from today of my ankle. Scar is barely visible but you can see the bump around it which tends to grow by the end of the day.

  3. davidkon 14 May 2014 at 11:56 pm

    It’s probably the perspective view in the picture, but your injured calf looks as big if not bigger than your other one! That’d be a feat–especially at 12-weeks! What’s your secret?

  4. normofthenorthon 15 May 2014 at 2:15 am

    Nice report, nice looking scar, and thanks for the thanks! :-)

  5. ceciliaon 15 May 2014 at 7:27 am

    Congratulations on all your progress!

  6. janison 15 May 2014 at 10:40 am

    Good update. The walking speed gets better! I have just noticed probably in the past month (5-6 months out) that I am now able to walk at my normal pace without limping.

  7. smickon 15 May 2014 at 11:34 am

    @davidk - perspective is the secret in that photo. trust me, that calf is still at best 2/3 the size of my other one!

  8. sportion 15 May 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Nice update smick!

  9. annielon 15 May 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Great post as it helps me realize that many things I am experiencing right now - such as the ache in my tendon and greater limp etc at the end of the day - are to be expected at this point (I am less than a week behind you - non-op) so I shouldn’t worry that I’ve done something wrong…. So thank you - and keep on posting and recovering :)

  10. texasflyeron 21 May 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Hey smick, great article, again. Great detail that I will find very useful at 12 weeks (I’m 5 weeks post-op now) so thanks for posting some specifics.

    Congrats on the progress and I’ll keep reading!

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