Recovery

I’m now 12 weeks post left ATR surgical repair.  4 weeks splints/casts then 4 weeks boot.  I walked my first unassisted mile at my 11 week anni-rupture-versity.  It was awesome!  I’ve walked a dedicated mile a day (so far).  I started PT as soon as I got in the boot (CAM)…Literally, I was at the therapy center within 2 hours.  I really think early therapy/movement helped me.  They also prepared me for shoes.  They had me doing standing/balancing exercises at PT wk 3 (7 weeks post-op).  I’ve been very lucky as I have not had major issues with swelling like many.  I still ice and elevate my ankle (above my heart) when I go to bed. I use a big thick pillow from my couch as my foot support.

My biggest challenge is the "limp".  If I do toe raises/stretches before I start walking, think heel-to-toe as I move, and slow my "good leg" down, I can walk pretty normally.  I’ve been increasing speed though am still very slow (about a 22 minute mile).

My goal is to continue to walk and…eventually, do single heel raises.  I’m not putting a time limit on the raises as I can’t get my left heel off the ground by itself at this point.  And, it seems that the more I do them together, the bigger my right calf gets and my left/bad calf stays tiny.  :(  I’ll get there though!!  (Plus, I’ve always had very thin legs proportionality. I’m a bit of an apple on 2 sticks!  I have lost 15 # through this mobility challenge and hope to get 15# more off now that I’m back to walking!)

Left calf atrophy was expected.  I used a scooter during the 4 weeks of NWB.  Yet, I’m very surprised to find my left thigh smaller and tightening up as I walk.  I also still have numbness on the left side of my left calf.  I can feel touch but its like it has been injected with Novocain.  It has gotten a bit better in the last 12 weeks but there is still that fear of unknowingly cutting myself while shaving.

I had the top half of sutures removed at week 2 and the bottom at week 3.  They missed one which I noticed once in the boot and had it removed at week 4.  I apply Mederma scar gel daily and also use Cocoa Butter.  Though I cleaned my calf with alcohol wipes between casts, my skin was still a mess.  Even now, my skin has some issues.  I also still have an area of scabbing at the bottom of my incision.  I think its where my shoe rubs.  I can’t imagine 3 months NWB in casts!  I am still able to soak in a bath and get in pools.

The protocols vary so much!  I am lucky that my rupture was 1) left (so I could still drive once I found my balance and strength), 2) mid-tendon rupture (so there wasn’t a need for hardware to repair), & 3) considered "emergency surgery".  (I ruptured late on a Friday, went to urgent care Sat morning which sent me to the ER - they splinted me with toes pointed, and had surgery that Monday.)

I know this sounds crazy but I’m glad my preferred exercise is walking.  So many on here enjoy a wealth of sports, making this injury truly life changing.  I had back surgery 3 years ago which took away impact sports (though, outside of gymnastics in my early days, I’ve never really involved myself with sports).  Therefore, though my goal is single-toe raises, having an almost-normal gait at 12 weeks post op is pretty much a "full-recovery" for me…outside of the continuous need to stretch while my calf and tendon find their correct length.  Again, I truly feel for those avid ATR-club-sports-participants that need that toe-lift-off to get fully back-in-the-game.

I’ve really appreciated reading through other’s blogs and comments.  I look forward to continuing to read your stories and updates.

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