4 Weeks post-op… and definitely counting. PWB this coming week??

It’s been a tough week here. Lots of frustration! I’ve been told that my doctor (who is more on the conservative side) would like to wait until Week 5 to start PWB. I was ready to go Week 4… oh well. Honestly, I’d rather be safe than sorry with this thing.

Also, I always seem to have “scares” on Fridays. Last night, I was going down a set of stairs (on crutches, so crutches under my arm on by bad side, leading with the bad side). Since I’m NWB, I need to put distribute a lot of weight on the handrail whenever going downstairs. Imagine my surprise when the handrail gave out from under me!! Luckily, the guy I was talking to behind me grabbed me and helped me down the remaining stairs. My bad foot never touched the ground.

And again that night, when I was getting into the passenger side of the car, my crutch slipped from the curb and I nearly planted my bad foot right on the pavement… luckily, I grabbed the car in time, the bad foot never touched the ground, and I just dealt with some uncomfortable feeling in that leg since it tensed up. I wish I could bring the knee scooter everywhere, as crutches are just a nightmare.

Again, the hope for this week is to be cleared for Partial weight Bearing. So, for those who transitioned into PWB…. what should I expect? Does anything change? More pain? I’m anxious about it but also want to get going.

8 Responses to “4 Weeks post-op… and definitely counting. PWB this coming week??”

  1. Wearing one boot with a 3-inch heel is pretty awkward, especially at first, but being able to stand on two feet while brushing your teeth etc. is a relief! For me there wasn’t any pain or discomfort - the boot keeps everything in place, and each day you can put a little more weight on it.

  2. We are pretty much in the same boat! I just got a boot on today at the 4 weeks post op mark, but my doctor doesn’t want me to put any weight on it still until the 6 week mark. I am able to move my ankle more, and I’m really anxious to start putting weight on it. The doctor was very insistent on NWB still for me.

  3. I just managed to reach full weight bearing today at 5 weeks post injury (I follow the non-operative protocol). It took me a week to get there and have tried for most of the past week to walk with one crutch. Once you manage that, i expect that you will be loose the other crutch pretty quickly as well. I did not experience any pain but just had to get over the mental block of allowing me to actually push through the boot. Until i managed to fully roll through the boot and have the weight on the leg - i was just limping around.
    Good luck - it will come and faster than you think!

  4. Interesting, that seems fast for non-op! Glad to hear it’s going well!

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  5. popouch - same here! Just this week (Thursday) got word that the doc wants me to wait another two weeks to start PWB… man how frustrating!!

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  6. I am also about 4 weeks post op. Started PWB on my cast at home without doctor consent about 4 days ago, and started FWB today. I have no pain, and a slight tingle at heel with my first few steps. My doc is conservative and wouldn’t let me put on boot at 3 week mark, so I decided to take the risk of testing my body and feel I know my own body best. I do take very careful steps at home, and use crutches when going outside. I was able to flex my calf and move my foot around since day 3 after surgery, and have been flexing and moving my foot from inside the cast ever since. I’m pretty sure I’m on the risky side of recovery protocol.

  7. @pdelputte

    How was your process for non-op? I tore the area where the Achilles meets the calf muscle. I am 27 y/o male who works out 5-7 times a week so I was surprised and a bit frustrated when the doctor let me know this is not generally an area to operate on due to the area of the tear with the muscle. I am in a hard cast now as of today after splint the day of injury this past Saturday 4/21. What was the timing from splint/cast to boot with NWB->PWB->FWB to no boot…

  8. @Zach

    I’ve read tons of stuff about operative vs non-operative protocol and has seen similar advice re ruptures higher up the leg - ie non-surgery is recommended.
    There are some really good blogs here from people who’ve been through the non-operative protocol and I’ve taken that as guidance. Agnes is one of them (she has also posted videos on Youtube) but there are some others who seem very knowledgeable. As far as I understand, the key thing is to start moving early enough - after you’ve given the achilles some time to heal. This is typically 2 to 3 weeks NWB and then start moving/ exercises which will help the tendon get stronger. It has something to do with growing the right collagen - which you can only build by moving.

    As to my experience, it has been easy and straightforward (apart from obviously the terrible limitations you have to go through - especially being an active person).

    I never got a cast/ split but went straight into the boot. Whilst
    i was allowed to do minimal weight bearing (10%) from the beginning, i stuck to strict NWB for the first two weeks. After that, i started ROM exercises 5 times a day and moved to PWB (but minimal). After 3 weeks, i started walking on the boot - assisted by crutches. I know i was supposed to go to FWB after 4 weeks so made this a gradual process.
    After 4 weeks, I also started removing a wedge every week and am now walking around on the boot - going faster every day.

    I am removing last wedge tomorrow and my boot is supposed to come off next week - let’s hope doctors confirm i can stick to the planned schedule.

    I feel like my body has healed well - i’ve had minimal pain throughout but can see more flexibility in my foot every day. I am still seeing swelling and can feel that my leg gets heavy if I walk on it a long time. I use compression socks which really help against the swelling. I’ve also taken care of my diet, added supplements (vitamin C - Collagen and zinc) and tried to avoid alcohol. I just felt i had to give my body the best chances of recovery (and didn’t want to gain tons of weight in these initial months of immobility).

    As far as I understand, the biggest risk with the non-operative protocol is coming once out of the boot - ie between 8 and 12 weeks. The tendon is still very weak and the risk of re-rupture is highest in this period.
    I have bought a Bauerfeld Achilles Train sock in anticipation and expect that i may need to move back to crutches for a limited time once I am in shoes.

    Hope this helps to get you some non-op perspectives. Good luck - once you get past the initial NWB stages, things get really a lot easier.

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