10 weeks…..increasing flexibility and mobility

The last two weeks have flown by…..and the recovery has been progressing slowly but very well.

The wound seems to be completely healed, but from time to time I can feel a slight stretch pain on it.  It comes and goes and am assuming that, that is to be expected with increasing PT. It’s almost as if many of the old aches and pains that were prominent early in the recovery can be re-felt deep in the area after some PT and seem to go away with icing. I also can sense and feel some swelling on some days if I have been on my feet a lot and icing and elevation usually takes care of that as well.

PT has been progressing again slowly, but well. I am supposed to see her 2x/week and am supposed to work at the home at least 1x/day and preferably 2x/day. Most days I have managed to do it 2x/day, but it puts a dent in terms of the time it takes away from other stuff, but figured I need to do this at least till I get to a point where I am in 2 shoes. Anybody know if 2x/day vs 1x/day makes a big difference in the short term?

Also per the PT, until week 12, she will focus primarily on the ROM and increasing the flexibility/balance/weight bearing capacity etc of the AT and the foot. We are doing some calf strengthening work with the Thera-bands and weight bearing, but it’s limited as they feel that the AT is not completely healed until week 12 (Makes sense as it seems to corresponds with data that the risk of re-ruptures falls dramatically after week 12). The goal again for now is to be in 2 shoes in 2 more weeks so I am spending more time walking (limping actually) in 2 shoes at home. I have specifically been asked to not climb stairs or do a push-off the injured leg. Has that been the typical experience for all? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Some lessons learned: My doc never gave me any instructions for removing the wedges (2 ) in the boot and at the first meeting with the PT, she was surprised that I still had them in there. We were able to get rid of both of them within a week and it was painless, but I felt that this could have been pushed with the OS at week 6 and may have helped with less rigidity of the AT at time of the first PT.  May not be an issue in the long run, but I feel that to some extent I wish I had pushed my OS a little in terms of moving things along a little faster. The flip side of it has been that, the slower approach has resulted in a relatively smooth and pain-free recovery and for that I am grateful.

Enjoyed some joyous emotional milestones along the way….eg. getting into two shoes and then taking unassisted steps in them….getting into the shower and realizing, I can stand up and have my first standing shower in 3 months……driving a car…….sleeping without a boot……walking around the house without the boot……..I think in terms of an emotional roller coaster, these last two weeks were definitely a great high and a realization of the immense healing power of the body.

6 Responses to “10 weeks…..increasing flexibility and mobility”

  1. I go up and down the stairs quite a bit at home. I go leg over leg on the way up with no problem and then on the wa down i still go 1 step at a time. Haven’t felt any discomfort from that..wonder how it would be a problem though if you’re primarily pushing through heel vs toe, (I am not completely push off balls of feet/toe, mostly heel).

    Sounds like all is well, awesome!

  2. You said: “Anybody know if 2x/day vs 1x/day makes a big difference in the short term?”

    Not sure about the 2x/day vs 1x/day statistically…some days I do one because it’s all I can fit in or physically manage, some days I do two or even three workouts if I have time and feel up to it.

    You said: “Has that been the typical experience for all? Thoughts? Suggestions?”

    No, my PT was just slightly more aggressive, overall not fast or slow. For example she had me doing theraband four different ways at 8 weeks. We started retraining my gait at 8 weeks…I am going to echo my PT who says “there really is no need to limp”… I would tell my PT “but it hurts, the only way I can walk is to limp” and she’d shake her head and make me walk forwards, backwards, and just by watching me know how to correct it….and she made me correct it by showing me that I could walk limp free, I guess I had to do it to be convinced I could do it. More mental than physical maybe? Anyway, I do limp in the morning when I’m stiff. I warm up with sitting ROM and within a short period I’m limp free again. I do occasionally limp at the end of the day if I’ve been up and about a lot. Otherwise no limp. If I had not had PT I’m quite sure I’d be limping right now all day, all the time. I’d suggest asking them to start gait correction now…I don’t think 10 weeks is too early.

    As for stairs she had me training on stairs in PT at 8 - 10 weeks. I started going up them normally around 8 - 10 weeks as Eric described, leg over leg. I still can’t go down one leg to each step, but it has nothing to do with my tendon but the knee on the unrepaired side in which I tore a meniscus in my early NWB days.

    Norms trick to go down stairs worked for me and is recommended as a way down until the stretch in the tendon is ready for leg over leg down….you lead with the injured foot and hang the front half of the foot off of the step. Now bring the uninjured foot down next to it all the way onto the step. Repeat. I think this is what Eric is doing going down?

    Anyway I think you can manage early step training at 10 weeks but that’s just me. With the method described you don’t use the tendon at all going down. For early going up you can lead with the good leg and bring the bad leg up to meet it and repeat. It puts no stress on the tendon.

    You said: “Enjoyed some joyous emotional milestones along the way….eg. getting into two shoes and then taking unassisted steps in them….getting into the shower and realizing, I can stand up and have my first standing shower in 3 months……driving a car…….sleeping without a boot……walking around the house without the boot……..I think in terms of an emotional roller coaster, these last two weeks were definitely a great high and a realization of the immense healing power of the body.”

    I COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT BETTER MYSELF! YAY you!

  3. Thanks you’ll! Donna, yes I always looked at your milestone list as it gave me a 4 week idea of what to expect….for some reason was unable to find it on the site….kept coming up as empty…..is it possible to re-post or attach link here? Thanks!

  4. You couldn’t find my blog because I don’t have one anymore. For personal reasons I had Dennis delete mine about a month ago. Before deleting it I cut and pasted what I did have into a word document and it’s more of a private journal now with lots of other notes and data in it. It fits my style more. I’m enjoying being here with you guys and commenting when it appears helpful, which is more my style.

    Remember that milestones are personal. It was helpful for me to see other bloggers milestones so I have no problem posting mine in an attempt to be helpful, however, we are all unique individuals so keep that in mind. Mine may not be yours. I know many others were not mine.

    Weeks 10 - 14 milestones:
    •In two shoes off and on all day, use cane for support as needed since week 8
    •Wear boot outside as needed for safety or to rest the tendon during long walks or standing – haven’t used the boot since week 13 but would if I needed to
    •Started PT stairs and gait correction training
    •Walking up stairs normally and down modified
    •Balancing gets more challenging, strength training on total gym with leg presses and squats using half body weight starts at week 10, lots of different kinds of walking lunges, stretches get deeper on their own after week 10 and by week 12 full ROM/ DF stretch reached
    •Started treadmill training for gait rehab – walking backwards for push off correction week 12
    •Waking 20 to 30 min. on treadmill with no pain or limp at week 13
    •Cardio bike 30 mins daily/upper body/abs/core strength/yoga stretching started and built up since week 8
    •Daily self massage since week 6 and 2x week PT deep tissue massage and ultrasound for scar tissue started at week 10 and continues
    •Week 14 started Elliptical for cadio and the lower body machines in the gym for strength
    •Tendon “something is healing” feeling is starting to dissipate
    •Less swelling, less need to RICE week 14 – less sensitivity overall
    •Can put pants on normally week 14
    •Can’t wear normal shoes, bump on heel that is still sensitive

    Hope that helps!

  5. Thanks Donna, yes it does help to get an idea of what to look forward to over the next few weeks…..

  6. Hey im glad your recovery is going well. I am 14 weeks post op and everyday is still a battle. Patience and not pushing too hard is key, you want to make sure you rest plenty because thats when you recover most. You have to listen to your body and some people recover faster than others so dont feel discouraged when others are moving right a long. I started jogging 1 mile and if im feeling good push it 2 miles everyother day but if my achilles starts giving me any discomfort, I will stop. Again nobody knows your body better than you..not even your pt or os!..listen to your body and dont rush..massage ice and elevate really accelerated my recovery process.

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