Wednesday, March 23rd, was twenty-five weeks post-surgery. I was still feeling pretty good, until I went to physical therapy that Friday and had my tendon stetched by the therapist! That was one thing I hadn't been doing consistently... although my arthritis was gone I still needed to stretch and keep my muscles flexible.
The next day my ankle was still sore but I finally went to the gym. Using the equipment felt great... after "running" on the elliptical for 10 minutes, I used the leg-strengthening machines. Felt wonderful! I tried the treadmill but didn't like it; I think I may have been trying to walk to fast and it seemed like my ankle was very sore afterward. At physical therapy I walk backwards on the treadmill but I couldn't bring myself to do it at the gym. I felt like everyone would be looking at me! When I saw my therapist that following Tuesday, I was told that walking heel-to-toe does put more impact on my ankle and since I may have been walking fast that could explain the discomfort.
I also saw my orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up that Tuesday, and he said everything was healing nicely and I didn't have to see him again for another six months. He also gave me the green light to go hiking and biking (on pavement only, of course). With hiking he told me to make sure I wore boots that covered my ankle to provide additional support. I knew this wouldn't be a problem since I already had hiking boots, and walking sticks too. He reminded me to start off with easy terrain and when I started to feel tired I should turn around and head back. With biking he told me to be careful not to fall on my left side. I asked him about my pedals; my biking shoes clipped into them and I had to twist my ankle to get my foot off the pedal. He said that was fine, my ankle would be able to tolerate it. The news that I could start enjoying the outdoors more was so exciting to me! I couldn't wait to get out there.
Another thing my surgeon warned me about was being pre-medicated before any invasive procedures, which meant taking antibiotics before-hand. I had tried to get my teeth cleaned a few weeks earlier and the dentist would not do it unless he had clearance from my surgeon. Although it was a simple procedure, there was a possibility that I could bleed and then bacteria could get into my blood stream and infect my ankle joint. So my surgeon gave me a prescription for antibiotics and I planned to make another appointment for my cleaning. I would strongly suggest anyone planning to have joint replacement surgery or any other type of surgery check with their doctor about needing to be pre-medicated before any invasive procedures done after the surgery.
On Thursday, my physical therapist told me my visits were winding down. He was happy about my surgeon's report and didn't think there was much more my therapy visits could do for me. I was feeling the same, like the therapy was starting to plateau. He told me to come in twice the following week and go to the gym again on Saturday to supplement the third therapy visit, and then the following week after that we would see what we'd do next.