Friday, June 10, 2011

Week Thirty-Six

On Thursday, April 6th, I had my last physical therapy appointment. It was bittersweet because I knew I was strong and could continue my exercises on my own, but I was going to miss the people at the facility. My therapist wanted me to come back in a month so he could see how I'm doing and make sure my strength was holding up.

In the following weeks  I rode my bike and went swimming for the first time in six months. My ankle held up well for both activities. I began going to the gym to keep up my strength and one day, after doing seated calf raises, noticed that my left calf was very sore for a few days. Most likely I pushed myself too hard and pulled the muscle. I stopped doing my exercises for a few days and then the calf felt fine. From then on I knew that I had to take things slow and easy where my left ankle and calf were concerned!

Wednesday, June 8th, was thirty-six weeks post-surgery. The past few months have been great... the best I've had in years. I have been going to the gym, swimming, and using my elliptical at home on a regular basis. Every morning I stretch my leg muscles to keep things limber. For the most part there has not been any soreness.

My activities and energy level have increased a great deal but I still need to pace myself, because if I walk too much or spend too much time on my feet my ankle does get sore for a day or so. Still... the pain is nowhere near what it was pre-surgery.

The tingling sensation is still present on the bottom of my foot and in my toes, and I do continue to get small spasms but they don't seem as painful as they were before. The tingling is (very) slowly but surely subsiding.

One of the things I have noticed is the inability to wear shoes with heels. Low wedges work fine for me but they need to be cushioned... hard, solid heels are not comfortable to walk in. Luckily I was never a high-heeled shoe girl to begin with!

Another thing I need to be mindful of is how weak my left calf is, from atrophy and all the years of not using it properly due to the pain I was in. I have gotten to the point that I can stand on my tip toes but only if I'm holding on to something and only if I have my right foot down... and even then most of my weight is on my right foot! I am unable to lift my body by tip-toeing on my left foot alone. I'm not sure if I ever will be able to do that again, but I'm going to continue working on developing and strengthening that calf muscle.

Over the past few months I've noticed that I can carry a little more weight. Before, I would have to be very careful carrying heavy objects, because my ankle couldn't handle the extra weight; either I was in pain or I just couldn't manage getting around. Now I can carry things like laundry baskets and grocery bags without a problem... it's wonderful! I'm still careful going down stairs with a laundry basket, only because I'm not sure of keeping my balance just yet. My ankle is strong but I don't to take any chances. So I still go down the stairs backwards if I'm carrying a laundry basket or anything like that.

Hopefully you will all continue reading... I've been much more active and don't get on the computer much to post... I'm sure those of you who have been or are going through what I went through can understand! I'm getting my life, freedom, and independence back... it's wonderful!