Baby Steps

Due to the snail’s pace at which I am updating this blog, I will unfortunately need to backtrack a few weeks to get it sufficiently up to date.   

About two weeks ago (six weeks post-op) on December 29th, I was finally granted permission to begin full weight-bearing. My doctor suggested I might continue to use the crutches for balance, but the thought of one more crutch-aided step made me want to cry myself a Nile-sized river. Needless to say, I hobbled out the door sans crutches.

walking_boot

My doctor was extremely pleased with my progress. He tested my strength by having me push against his hand with the ball of my foot. The results of this test were so exciting to him that he had one of his medical students bring a camera to document the outcome. My doctor was also inspired by my point, which looked very close to that of my uninjured side. He seemed to think my recovery was going exceptionally well.

I told my doctor that I was visiting my therapist later that day and asked him what kinds of exercises I could do. Instead of responding, he told me he’d pass along instructions to her himself and left to do so that very moment. It’s been such a great experience going to a doctor and therapist who work at the same hospital, right down the hall from each other. Knowing that they are working together, even holding meetings to discuss my case, gives me so much confidence. To anyone faced with a surgery such as this, I highly recommend finding a reputable surgeon who works in the same building as a physical therapist. Just make sure your insurance is accepted by both doctor and therapist!

At therapy, I was instructed to continue performing plantar flexion exercises with a blue resistance band. I was also told to incorporate inversion, eversion, and dorsiflexion motions. I asked if I could start using any lower body weight machines and was told I could do lying hamstring curls and leg extensions, so long as I kept the weight low. As a bonus, I was also permitted to start riding a stationary bike! Though I was back working out in the gym just ten days after my surgery, I had been confined to upper body machines and dumbbells. It was so good to finally include some lower body exercises and even better to begin working on my cardio. Not only that, but now that I’m off my crutches I no longer have to beg my fellow gym rats to carry my dumbbells to and from the rack.

                                       Scar at eight weeks post-op

                                      Scar at eight weeks post-op

I was supposed to remove one (or even two) of the wedges in my walking boot on Monday, but I’ve been hesitant to do so. Over the weekend I became concerned about the resting tension of my Achilles tendon. I haven’t discussed this yet on my blog, but the decreased resting tension in my left leg was one indicator that initially suggested my tendon was overstretched and required surgical shortening. After comparing the resting tension of my left and right tendons this past Saturday, I became uneasy because the tension in my surgical leg appears to be less than in my right leg. I don’t know if this is anything to worry about, but having already gone through this whole recovery once before without success, I’m being extra careful. 

After a few unsuccessful attempts to contact my doctor through his assistant, I went ahead and emailed my therapist yesterday regarding this issue. She responded immediately and said she would bring up my case today during a meeting with my doctor. I hope to hear back from one of them sometime tomorrow and will write a quick update once I know more!