Tag Archives: physical therapy following Achilles tendon surgery

Physical therapy with an 80s twist

t_ HalloweenPhysical therapist T worked on the female DG’s big toe today, trying to get it to do more of what it’s supposed to do, like flex and bend.  So much of rehab is about fixing the other stuff that went south while the problem (Achilles tendon) was getting fixed, a fact that the male DG knows all too well.  But you gotta love T’s outfit – a perfectly, horrendously awful vintage 80s wedding dress. And a sign that Halloween is upon us.

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Still trying for patience – 12 weeks post Achilles tendon surgery

Today, the female DG (Dual gimpy and grumpy) thought about what Dr. Lawrence Oloff said when he first read her MRI and recommended surgery: “Just pick a time you can take four months out of your life.” Given that timetable she has another month to go.

Much has changed in the last four weeks: The clunker black boot is gone. She’s walking almost normally. Her calf seems almost alive.

But the nagging reminders remain. There’s some pain now that she’s walking, more so at the end of the day. She can’t walk for exercise; the bike is the best she can do, although the elliptical beckons. She’s a bit unclear on what physical therapy is doing that progressive, common sense usage would also accomplish.

So it’s march on – without marching.

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Toes are getting to be a bore

So the female DG is a bit stumped. She could expect some tenderness around her heel given the surgery to repair her Achilles tendon – and by the end of the day there is some. But what’s the deal with the continued toe cramps? She’s really purposeful about “walking regular” and can execute well throughout the day. She would almost think she was normal if not for the fact that every step is felt in her toes. Tomorrow will include another visit with physical therapist “T” – and maybe some answers. She’s optimistic because Friday the DG’s head south – literally.

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It’s not the tendon, it’s the toes

So the female DG had another physical therapy session today with “T.”  It seems the left toes are weak (the right ones aren’t not really great), undoubtedly a repercussion of compensating for the eight weeks she was in pain while walking prior to surgery and the nine weeks in cast/boot when they weren’t being called on to do anything. Now when she uses them as part of her walking strike, they cramp.

As the male DG has discovered, it’s amazing how the body compensates when its part are mobility challenged – even when the brain isn’t consciously asking for such compensation.  The prescription for the toes (and better walking) is a series of exercises and taking each walking stride so that that the heel strikes first and the toes provide lift off. Just another of the many “who would have thunk” things that come from being injured and hacked into.

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Flat-footed and splay-toed: 10 weeks post surgery

Ever since the “clunker” (aka walking boot) went to the corner of closet a week ago, the female Dual G has been trying to figure out why she’s limping even though her surgically-repaired Achilles tendon doesn’t hurt. A session of physical therapy today revealed the answer. Rather than the regular walking motion of heel first, the pushing off with the toes, she’s walking flat-footed –  clump, clump, clump. In addition, to compensate for whatever foot and calf muscles aren’t working, she toes are splaying like a web foot. Remedial exercises have been prescribed – necessary to leaving gimpdom behind.

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Next chapter begins – “T’d” up for physical therapy

T_092909
iced_092909Five days after she shed the “clunker” and almost 10 weeks since having surgery on her left Achilles tendon, the female Dual G began twice a week physical therapy at the Diablo office in Atherton. She thinks she has a winner in physical therapist “T,” who completed a thorough range of motion and strength examination of  not only on her surgically repaired left foot but on a her right foot (it needs some work too!) as well as other lower body muscle/tendon groups. (Looking over his shoulder, the male DG remarked, “She even looks a bit like Heidi” – his wonderful PT.) The good news from the female DG’s perspective was that no matter how T twisted, turned or pushed against the left foot/ankle and poked around the surgical site, she had no pain. At the end of this initial evaluation, her foot got iced along with some electrical stimulation that was supposed to make her feel like a pack of mice was running up and down her calf. (Not quite – even with the machine turned on high.) She eyed the really spiffy looking GameReady machine, which was in already in use by another client, hence the icing the old-fashioned way. Not many take home exercises after this first visit – more to come when she returns on Thursday.

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