Today marks 15 weeks since the surgery. I feel like my gait is perfectly normal when i walk a comfortable speed. Dr told me I could start jogging as tolerated at my 13 week follow up. For about a week and a half after that i just jogged lightly in 10-15 yard increments between sets in the weight room. Yesterday i decided to amp it up and got on the treadmill. I kept the speed pretty slow and started out with my hands on the railings for about 30 seconds to get comfortable. My plan initially was a 5 minute jog at a comfortable pace but i felt pretty good so i decided to go a half mile which took 6 mins 50 seconds. Today i went a little faster and did my half mile in 6 minutes 10 seconds. Once i can comfortably run a half mile under 5 minutes I’ll start doing full miles. I have no interest in ever doing more than a mile as I truly hate distance running with a passion. I ran a sub 6 minute mile in 8th grade and probably haven’t run a single mile on 5 occasions since. I’ll take hill sprints, stairs, gassers, suicides 110’s or 40’s….anything other than distance…..but until I can sprint i’ve really got no choice.
When I first got hurt and started researching the recovery process I kept reading 12 weeks to resume everyday daily activities. I’ve never been a deadline/goal setter in anything. I’ve always just sought continuous, daily improvement in all facets of life. However, with this injury I felt the desire to set the tangible goal of golfing 12 weeks after surgery. I played 9 holes with a cart today. The score was nothing to write home about courtesy of the worst putting performance of my life, but I was glad to find out that I can still absolutely crush the piss out of a golf ball.
51 days since my surgery and only 19 days left in my boot. The past week I made minimal progress as a result of working 4 days of football camps in a 5 day stretch and was on my feet roughly 40 combined hours which was brutal as far as swelling and hindering my ROM progress, but beneficial from a strength standpoint. I didn’t have any achilles pain but both of my knees were killing me by the end of each day. Additionally, I had so much swelling when I got home each night my rehab exercises were really limited. I’ve been keeping the boot very loose which allows me to walk with a pretty normal gait and allows me to push off the ball of my foot so my calf is starting to get stronger.
I had my 5th PT session this week and they teased me with the possibility of walking without the boot but ultimately decided against it due to limited plantarflexion. My dorsiflexion is really starting to improve as a result the standing calf stretches and my inversion/eversion is nearly equal to my uninjured leg. I guess it makes sense for my plantarflexion strength to be the area where i’m lacking because 29 years of strength development basically went back to square zero. Have others in this community had more trouble regaining plantarflexion strength/flexibility compared to everything else?
I got to do two new exercises at PT this week. The first of which was circumduction on the balance board which was extremely difficult as I just don’t have that level of motor control/strength back yet. The second was just stretching on the pro calf stretcher.
I’ve gotten pretty comfortable getting in and out of the shower barefooted and freely shift my weight back and forth in the shower without even thinking about it. I know without a doubt I could put a shoe on and walk right now but I’m not going to do anything stupid at this point and I’ll wait until they let me do it at PT.
Just had my six week follow up this morning. Dr said everything looks and feels good and strong. After examining my achilles and the incision he asked if I was ready to get rid the of the crutches. I emphatically said, "absolutely" assuming he would tell me just a few more weeks or something along those lines. When he told me I could ditch the crutches right away I had to fight to keep from smiling like a kid on Christmas morning.
My walk is ugly as hell and the height difference from my booted foot to other foot is a little awkward but I’m on cloud nine right now.
Today marks exactly 35 days since surgery and only 5 days until my 6 week follow up where i swear on all that is holy I better get to transition to PWB. I don’t even think about the fact that i’m on crutches now as they’ve kind of just become part of my life and don’t really hinder me from doing anything. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been putting some weight on it with the crutches, but never more that a few steps in a row. I know I’m stupid and taking a huge risk for not following orders to a tee but I do know my own body pretty well and haven’t had a shred of pain in the achilles for weeks….even in the two instances where i was falling and put my full body weight on the booted foot.
Physical Therapy and rehab is going pretty well. My strength and range of motion feels better every day and my confidence in the achilles has gone through the roof. Theraband work drastically improved my strength and ROM over the past few weeks and my PT started me on a passive stretching program earlier this week.
I’ve been on the stationary bike (barefooted) 3 times in the past week and i’ve increased the intensity each time.
first time was 5 mins at 17 rpm. left foot was extremely shaky and i was probably putting less than 5 lbs of pressure at max….not gonna lie, i was scared and being kind of a pussy.
second time was 5 mins at 25 rpm. was able to keep constant pressure of the left foot on the pedal and actually give a little bit of push…no shakes.
third session i kept it over 30 rpm for full 5 mins and was able to evenly keep pressure on the left foot.
The achilles itself feels like a steel chord back there these days. Really, really tight…but at least it feels strong. I can get to 90 degrees with no problem and plantarflexion is almost even with my other foot. I get a little soreness and swelling in the foot and ankle ligaments depending on how hard i push myself each day with rehab stuff.
My goal since surgery was scheduled was to golf 12 weeks post op so I’m counting down the days to July 10th.
It’s been exactly 28 days since my surgery and It’s going along pretty smooth. I’m really getting fed up with never having my hands free to carry things and I’m sick of every single daily task being such a chore but I’m past the halfway point of the non weight bearing nightmare so the final two weeks of it should go by pretty fast.
The past few days I’ve seen a huge amount of progress since they started letting me do some band resisted range of motion at PT. My foot and ankle strength/mobility have increased more in the past 72 hours than it did in the first week and half out of the cast. I’ve been very passive working dorsiflexion as I’m well aware of the risks of the tendon healing too long. I don’t work it past the initial point of tension right now. I’m also able to move my foot/toes a lot faster and with less concentration and effort than I previously could which tells me my nervous system is starting to function properly again. The swelling has also gone down drastically and really only gets bad when I have the boot on for an extended period of time.
I rode the exercise bike (barefooted) for 5 minutes at PT the other day and even though i didn’t even push off the repaired leg i could feel the fatigue and tension in the achilles from the continuous motion/usage of the foot. I was petrified to put any pressure on the ball of my foot at first but gently applied a little bit as i got going and it felt fine…tight, but fine. Therapists were adament that if I felt any sort of pain or discomfort that I had to stop.
I’ve been doing all of my exercises at least twice a day and icing 3-4 times a day along with constantly squeezing my toes and wiggling the foot while I’m on the couch watching TV so hopefully my Dr gives the go ahead to become PWB in 2 weeks.
I did accidentally confirm that the tendon is strong enough to handle my full body weight the other day (in the boot of course). I was on my way our athletic training room building and it was raining pretty hard. A couple steps inside the building the crutches slipped out to the sides and I instinctively caught myself on the repaired leg it what was basically a walking lunge position. I didn’t feel any pain or stretching of the achilles but was still scared as hell. The trainer examined my achilles and everything felt/looked the same as the previous days.
I had my first PT session this morning, three weeks to the day of my surgery. Not a whole lot to speak of, mostly just teaching me the exercises i can do. They measured my active dorsiflexion at minus 16 degrees and active plantarflexion at 28 degrees so my range of motion is pretty limited. How does that compare to where many of you have been at 3 weeks post op?
They had me do a few sets of circumduction (20 reps/set) both clockwise and counterclockwise, movement was very, very slow as i hadn’t worked anything other than plantar/dorisflexion on my own. Next was isometric inversion/eversion which felt good. I could really feel stiffness/soreness in my ankle ligaments on the inversion. After that was a set of toe curls pulling a towel on a wood board. One therapist who had an ATR last year said the toe curls on a towel were brutal for him but they weren’t too bad for me going for a minute. I have been curling the toes and squeezing the foot a lot on my own. I’m sure the difficulty of those will amp up once they put a weight on the towel. Finished up with some ice and they told me i can do those exercises a few times each day on my own before my next session Tuesday.
I’m settled into a pretty good routine in my boot and life is actually starting to become pretty routine. I know how much time i need to give myself to complete my day to day activities and haven’t had any issues with my crutches or near accidents in a while.
Today I found myself at the top of a short staircase, roughly seven steps, no big deal. From the top i put the crutches down a step and my healthy leg followed only my body continued to lean forward…farther and farther….somehow my weight shifted too far forward from the top step, the crutches had wedged too far up in my armpits and i couldn’t move them to catch myself. There was no way around it….i was going down. I made the split second decision to jump down the remaining 5 or 6 steps rather than falling and certainly injure/embarrass myself. Somehow i managed to twist my body in the air, toss the crutches and stick the landing without my boot so much as touching the ground.
I calmly picked up my crutches as shocked onlookers asked if I was okay to which i responded, "athlete," then went on my way.
I start physical therapy tomorrow morning…..hopefully it’s on the first floor.
Had my first follow up appointment today to get my cast removed and sutures taken out. I’m now in a cam walking boot at neutral with 3 heel wedges. Doc said everything is healing up nicely and i can start PT next week. He gave a prescription for 2 PT sessions a week for the next 4 weeks. Hopefully my body responds well to those and I’ll be able to get some extra sessions in with our athletic training staff on campus.
The incision from the surgery was actually a little shorter than what i expected, only about 4-5 inches, but i could not believe how much my calf has atrophied. I knew it would be small but it has wasted away to nothing. Not surprisingly i can barely move my foot at all when it’s out of the boot but man it feels good to get a little air down there. I can’t wait to shower tonight and be able to wash my leg.
It’s been a long nine days since my surgery and I’m now looking forward to my two week follow-up. I have no pain or soreness other than the rush of blood every time i stand up. The most surprising thing to me about recovering from this is how physically and mentally exhausted i get from doing any simple task. Everything I do involves so much focus and concentration to make sure i don’t put my injured leg and crutching around is a constant workout.
Working all five days this week was tough and I came home completely exhausted every day. Fortunately, campus security has been lenient in allowing me to park in the 15 minute parking spots right outside my office which has been a lifesaver. I’m getting pretty good on crutches although I had two scares at work this week. Once my crutches got caught on some equipment as I was turning around and I started to fall backwards and instinctively put weight on my bad leg. Another time I slipped when I reached the top of a staircase and put my bad leg down to keep from falling forward. Both incidents scared the hell out of me but there was no pain or any increased soreness afterward so I’m assuming I didn’t screw anything up.
I managed to draw quite a few stares the other day at the grocery store. I was craving some ice cream so I went to the freezer aisle, grabbed some reese’s peanut butter cup ice cream and then realized I had no pockets large enough to carry it up to the register. I thought about my conundrum for a minute then decided to resort to what an eight year old with his hands full would do. I made a pouch with my t-shirt and held it up with my teeth exposing just about my entire torso as I crutched my way to the register.