8 wks post-op, PT #2–compression sox and devices?

Don’t get me wrong; it ’s not that I don’t want my PT–it’s just that it’s hard to deliberately make yourself feel worse, just because you have faith in the concept that it will make you feel better.   I have noted that in general I wake up and feel relatively strong, walkable, I get up on my two bare feet (not that I’m really walking heel-and-toe), etc.  By the end of the day, I move my leg as if it were one long stiff stump, i’m tired, my foot has swollen two sizes larger, etc.  And in the two days I’ve had PT exercises, all of that is exacerbated.

So there’s a little bit of a gumption trap–I know that Rehab Is All; sticking to the exercises is the only thing that has a chance of bringing me back to normal; and yet–.  It’s getting over the pain hurdle (”Wait–I’m about to make myself feel worse??”) that is difficult.   I’ve never been good at keeping resolutions (science provides a good reason for that–it doesn’t work), so I must retell myself the story every day, 2 or 3 times a day, that This Is Good For Me.  And not think about how I’ll be tired and a little sore afterwards.

I’m reminded of my Tae Kwon Do days from long ago–not only was there a lot of faith that all that repetition would actually teach me something, however bad it felt at the time, but also the perpetual knee braces, R.I.C.E. etc. due to sprains and bruises.  The brace was useful not only for encouraging stability and reducing pain, but also for keeping the swelling down.   So I’m experimenting with an ankle brace.  It feels good–but is it?  I suppose when I practice my exercises I should not be wearing it.

At least I got two new exercises at PT yesterday–the ubiquitous rubber band stretching (resistance work), and a little lesson in flexing my toes, involving scrunching up a towel on the floor under my foot.  So I’ll have plenty to do in the next week (I’ll be out of town and can’t visit PT)–as long as I do them.  Perhaps I can enlist my lovely Significant Other to remind me daily as to whether I’ve been doing them or not.   And I’ll be doing a lot of walking–my doc, supported by my PT, suggests taking my boot because I may be on uneven ground, and I use my cane when I go outside)–so I hope all this will be good and I’ll be stronger and more limber when I return.   I’ll keep you posted.

2 Responses to “8 wks post-op, PT #2–compression sox and devices?”

  1. Hi Timothy,

    When my Tubigrips (sort of tubular compression socks) weren’t keeping the swelling under control, I would use a four inch wide ace wrap, wrapped from the base of my toes up to just under my knee. The trick is to get the tension right. That takes a little practice. Getting it as tight as I could without it getting uncomfortable was what worked for me. My leg always felt much better with the swelling squeezed out like that.

    I also put a little homemade “pillow” under the wrap, positioned so it would push the swelling out of those little hollows between the tendon and the ankle bones. Later, I found a sponge of the right size and recoil that worked better than the little pillow I had made.

    A little tip I found useful involved those little metal pieces that secure the end of the wrap. I used a tube of stretchy material, like the cut off top of a sock, to put over those metal pieces, so they wouldn’t keep falling off and getting lost.

    Good luck,


  2. I was surprised, too, by how tired PT makes you (and ever since the surgery it seems like I’m tired as soon as I get out of bed, so it’s tired on top of tired.) I have had minimal swelling, and mt PT wondered if it was because I am addicted to the air in my boot- I really really pump that baby full of air whenever I am wearing it. So maybe it makes a kind of super compression sock. Also, some nights after PT I sleep with my leg elevated just a little bit. HTH

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