It’s amazing how excited you can get over the tiniest things when you’ve been through injury. Achilles’ injuries are no joke. You use your Achilles’ tendon for essentially everything you do on your feet. I’ve learned I have taken so many things for granted through this injury.
One being just the ability to walk on two feet. I went back to the doctor at 5 weeks post-op to get that cast off! Dear Lord Baby Jesus! I had better leg hair than most men! There’s something we take for granted… taking a bath and shaving! I was singing Outkast So Fresh, So Clean the entire time I was bathing. However, the bigger deal was they put me in a walking boot. I figured he’d tell me I had to use my crutches. Nope. He said I could use them as needed, but I could go full weight bearing.
Full weight bearing. I wanted to jump and skip I was so happy, but we all know that didn’t happen. Still… I was more excited than I can explain. Until I took that first step. Geez, I never felt so much pain. For weeks I’d been hearing people on my support group on Facebook talk about their pain and swelling. I’d been nonweight-bearing and in a cast so I didn’t know how much swelling was going on and I didn’t have a ton of pain. Until that first step. Everything from my ankle to my heel, to my Achilles, to my calf radiated with pain.
I had to use my crutches. I walked on it, but I had to go partial weight bearing because of the intensity of the pain. I felt a bit defeated. In my mind… I thought I’d be walking like a pro in that boot. We always think we can do things until reality smacks us right in the face. Baby steps, Drakeford, baby steps.
I tell myself this everyday. I’m impatient and independent to a fault. I want to do things and I want to do them quickly so I can move on to the next thing. Injury doesn’t work that way… especially this one. I keep telling myself, you’ve got a year. It’s going to take a year. I hope deep down it doesn’t, but I have to listen to what my doctor says. He’s dealt with professional athletes before… he knows his stuff.
I spent this past week walking on my foot. By Tuesday, I was down to one crutch, Wednesday, full weight bearing and used my crutches only when I got tired. By Thursday, I didn’t need them and I went an entire weekend in Gatlinburg with no crutches… because I trusted my kids to pack them and they forgot!
As of today, I’m 6 weeks postop. I’m full weight bearing and today I took out my first wedge. I have about 4 inches of wedges in my boot. These keep my foot in a dorsiflex position, keeping the tendon from being overstretched too soon. Each week, I am to remove a wedge until I am down to neutral. Talk about awkward! A walking boot is pretty tall to start… but add about 4 inches of wedges and the diffference between a tennis shoe and the boot is crazy. I was so off balance I started wearing heels! Yep… I was the chick with a walking boot and heels!
I have to admit I was nervous for the pain. However, to my surprise, it felt better without the bottom wedge! I feel good. I’m doing light PT at home now. It’s mostly just range of motion exercises and bearing weight on my foot while standing in my boot. I’m icing like crazy. I bought some portable ice packs and take them in my bag. I ice in the car, at work, you name it! And so far… I’ve not had a ton of swelling.
This is such a crazy journey. It’s a roller coaster ride all the time. Lots of ups and downs physically and mentally, but I keep thinking it’s only making me stronger. Ive been told the comeback is stronger than the setback. I plan on making that true.