11weeks and counting

Since starting in two shoes, one point that I had not considered (until now), was the kind of shoes I could wear. Until now I’ve been pretty much wearing my trainers/sneakers which have a horseshoe shaped cut out at the top of each back. This has conveniently avoided rubbing on the wound site which I understand was/is about 3-4cms above where the tendon joins the heel. As I was to attend a smart casual do this week I thought I would give normal shoes a try. Not one pair could I find that didn’t give me hell by chaffing the wound. ┬áThe tendon has healed somewhat ‘thicker’ than it was before so I guess I’m stuck with posh trainers unless I can find alternatives. Anyway that annoyance aside, on the healing front I am continuing to walk almost normally now without any pain or ‘dragging’ from the tendon and since adopting two shoes I have been incorporating standing two foot heel raises into the daily physio. After gradually transferring more weight to the injured side I thought I would have a shot at a single heel raise on that side alone but no matter how much I concentrated I could not get my heel to budge one iota, it was as though the heel was nailed to the floor. I am assuming rightly or wrongly that even though my calves are pretty similar in size there must be an acute lack of strength as yet in my right calf. When can I reasonably expect to be able to achieve this exercise from other people’s experiences? Any comments would be gratefully received. My physio currently includes daily sessions on static bike, x trainer, rowing machine, treadmill and vibro plate total of 1hr.

9 Responses to “11weeks and counting”

  1. Calf strength takes time to come back, I haven’t found any shortcuts that I can offer. Keep working the heel raises in a variety of forms and you will get there. Once double heel raises are conquered then raise up on both feet, transfer over to the injured leg and lower slowly on that leg. Walking on tip toes is also a good one. To get over that feeling like your heel is nailed to the floor then use the ball of the other foot to give a tiny push at the start, sometimes we actually need to give the brain a chance to remember the action. Good luck!

  2. I just updated my blog (at 11 weeks) including a bit on heel raises. Especially the eccentric contraction (i.e. coming down slowly) will help build strength in the muscle. I’ve been gradually moving more and more weight to the injured leg, especially on the way down…

    On your physio, are you actually running on the treadmill, or walking? Also, the rower is the one machine I’ve been told to stay away from for now (in addition to running).

  3. I also think the rower is risky. Lots of ankle flexion and load on the tendon, I am waiting until 6 months before I hop back on my erg.

  4. Thanks for the responses HWGA & GRAVITY. Walking on tip toes may be an option later but at present not an option for my right leg. Even trying to hold my weight on an elevated right heel causes instantaneous collapse. Guess patience is required to progress to the next stage and I’m happy with being mobile and able to drive at present. On the subject of the rower, although there is flexion of the ankle there is absolutely no strain on the tendon as on mine it is perfectly possible to push back using the heels on the foot rests. Also I am NOT attempting running or jogging on the treadmill, just walking at a steady 4mph with a slight incline on the bed for a mile.

  5. Out of interest, do you find it easier (some what counter-intuitively) to walk with an incline on the treadmill? When I first started walking properly I found that uphill was somehow easier, maybe due to the naturally somewhat shorter stride. Re. rower, if you’re ok with it, I’m sure it’s ok, I just know that with my stroke on the rower I’m going to stay off it for a while…

  6. Yorkshirelad - My wound starts at the heel and goes up through my ankle. I got new sneakers a half size bigger so my wound won’t rub against the back while doing activity. I also cut the back cushioning from an old pair. For your heel raise or walking on toes, I think you need to get more strength first. There are a lot of muscles in the foot, angle, shins, calf, etc. that all have to come back. Not to mention all the ligaments and tendons that have been dormant. I found the theraband, eversion, inversion, PF, DF, and foot drills help. I didn’t want to get obsessed about my calf’s ability, so I did other strengthening drills for the entire leg. I did a lot of single leg squats (progress to holding weights), a lot single leg balances standing on the floor (vary by moving your raised leg front, back, side as high as you can; later on bosu/dino disks). I could not walk on my toes at first, so I used a mini-trampoline (softer surface) and walked around on my toes on that. I also stood at the bottom of the stairs and stepped up onto the step on my toes repeatedly. If you have access to a pool, some folks have success using that for heel raises.

  7. We’ve had a few “polls” here, asking people how long before they could do a good 1lhr, or a bunch, or even an honest full height 50:50… Hugely varied results.

  8. I’m also at 11 weeks post-op (surgery on Oct 28) and it’s interesting to see you already working heel raises. I’ve been very eager to start really working the calf, but have been advised from my PT to not start any heel raises or additional ROM until the 12 week mark. I really only do leg exercises at PT, mostly squats and leg raises. I hope this means that once I do start doing these exercises they will come back quicker. ALso in terms of the rower, I have used it once and agree it is risky since you do need quite a bit of ankle flexion. WHat I do is keep the strap very loose and lift my heel off the rower when coming in. It’s probably not smart because it would be easy to forget to do this and accidently stretch it too much. Anyways, I also started a blog to keep track of my progress if anyone wants to take a read. My first post is progress up to 10 weeks. I seem to be taking it slow compared to you guys, my doc and PT are very conservative.


  9. Hi gravity, yes I do find it easier to walk with the bed slightly raised although the primary reason for this was to give the calf a little harder work to do. I am finding the exercise bike is probably the best for this as cycling was the way I built my calves in the first place years ago.

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