The air boot is OFF and I have just completed my first week of rehab, with one skinny, pale calf.
If you are wondering why I have one skinny pale calf then read this blog, explaining the foot operation I had.
I thought I would share my journey through rehab. I have found that being open and honest with others about a challenge you are facing; be it injury, illness, grief, heart ache etc brings others to help, support and share their challenges with you. Honesty and openness, bred. For that reason I thought I would share my rehab journey. Many people have been asking me, if i would recommend surgery to them as they too are suffering from Haglunds/ achilles issues/ bone spurs. I am not a medical expert, so I offer no advice here. What I can do is share my own experience. There have been and will continue to be up's, downs and everything in between. So here is what happened in the first week after getting the air cast boot off (I wore the air-cast boot for 6 weeks after the operation)
In my mind, I was going to come skipping out the hospital, having seen Dr Adam Bugden, the surgeon. Dr Bugden replaced the air cast boot, I had been wearing day and night for 6 weeks with my trainer.
"You are free to walk"
Reality was slightly different. With 6 weeks stuck in a boot, being inactivity, my foot and leg had forgotten how to walk. I limped/ hobbled/ hopped my way out of hospital and sat on a wall, a bin, the pavement every 100m as I attempted to 'walk' back to the bus stop to get home. Not the grand hospital departure I had pictured in my mind.
"You can cycle and swim now, just start easy"
Now those were nice words to hear from Dr Bugden.
I got my bike out and in my mind I would do a swift loop of the Yorkshire Dales, cruise the hills and be home a few hours later, eating ice cream on the sofa. In reality my heart rate went through the roof as I wheezed up the hill out of our housing estate. I took a breather, 5 minutes into the ride, debating whether to abandon the ride. Pushing my foot on the pedal, felt like I was breaking every bone in my foot, it was not use to pushing the pedals around. My loop in the Dales, turned into a n out and back 40 minute ride. I don't think I could claim to have left North Leeds.
My pool experience was not much better. I swam a rep, missed a rep, swam a rep, miss 2 reps... you sense the pattern here. The guys in the lane were very polite to ignore the fact I spent more time at the end of the lane than swimming in the lane.
I had no timeline, no training plan. I just wanted to get my foot back to full health. I was going to go with the flow. If my foot felt OK, I would cycle one day, I would swim another, I would try yoga and go with the flow from one day to the next.
The one thing I did have a plan for was my rehab.
Here is a short video highlighting some of the week one rehab exercises.
I worked with Sarah, before the operation. We meet up each week, she checks my progress, she gives me new exercises and off I go. We are continuing this, focusing on rehab for my foot.
Sarah has a holistic view of the body, so rehabbing my foot does not mean, isolated foot exercises, it involves movements that move the whole body.
I do the strength and conditioning routine 3 x a week. I then do 1 or 2 wiggle classes each day.
What is a wiggle class?
Basically dynamic stretching. Often a stretch may look like a yoga pose, or a standard stretch you have seen elsewhere, the difference is you gently move around in the stretch, discovering where the tightness is and then loosening the restriction with some 'wiggle'.
Sarah has a catalogue of 50+ classes to choose from on the wiggle class site, I am not going to run out of choice. I am probably like 99% of people, if i do my own stretching, it lasts 5 minutes, so putting on a video and doing it alongside Sarah, ensures I get a good 30 minutes of quality stretching/ wiggle. I try and do one class every day, if possible one in the morning and one in the evening. Sarah gives me a nudge towards certain classes, or I select one that sounds useful.
I kept up the wiggling even when i was wearing the boot. You can view the video here
Note: There was no script and no rehearsal for this video. It is very on the fly.
For those who know me, I don't ever have a 'plan' i am more of a spontaneous sort of lass. After my first few rides and swims, I feel the only way is up. And in a week, the progress has been good. One week in, 3 rides down, I went on the Alba Cycle club Tuesday night chain gang. I lived to tell the tale, so it shows, fitness and progress can come back pretty quickly. And 'easing into it' is all relative!
If you too are involved in rehab, good luck, keep it fun and remember, the only way is up!