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18 Weeks

Today marks eighteen weeks since I broke my ankle.  I say this every week, but it bears repeating…I am in awe of God and His healing grace.

First things first.  Remember when I posted last week and said that I had not done anything that Saturday…as directed by my physical therapists?

Well, let me tell you that I noticed a HUGE difference in my ankle this week…all because I took it easy last weekend.

Normally, Mondays are hell on my ankle.  Please pardon my directness there, but that’s the only word that fits.

I seriously cannot function well and hobble into PT on Monday afternoons.  The swelling in my ankle is usually pretty bad too.

Not last week!  I’ll admit that slowing down is not how I like to do things, but I can’t argue with the results.

It’s frustrating because this means that I am still further away from a full recovery than I’d like to be.  On the other hand, I’m closer than I was four and a half months ago.

During Monday’s PT session, they measured my foot to note my range of motion / flexibility.

I’d had this done during my first visit, but I was so overwhelmed with everything that I had not bothered to ask about the numbers.  All I knew was that I couldn’t move my ankle much.

When they measure, they’re looking at the way I can move my ankle four different ways…

During my first visit, my Dorsiflexion was at -5.  I couldn’t even get to neutral (90 degrees), y’all!  Now remember, this was only a week after I’d gotten out of my boot, and I was still relying heavily on my crutches.  On Monday, I was at 20 degrees!  Granted, that was with the PT pushing on my foot.  Ahem.  But the fact that it could move toward me that far was excellent!  Get this…the normal range is 20!!!  Woo hoo!

My Plantarflexion started off at 16 degrees during my first visit.  On Monday, it was up to 30!!  The normal range for this movement is 50, so I have a ways to go.  Nearly doubling in number though was GREAT progress!

My Inversion range started at 12 degrees; on Monday, it measured at 33!  The normal range is 35, so I’m just about there!

Now, the Eversion was not great.  During my first visit, I measured at 4 degrees.  Y’all, turning my foot outward is so stinking hard!  On Monday, I was at 7 degrees.  The normal range is 15.  This was discouraging, but I have to remember that most of my hardware is on the outside of my leg.  That’s where my plate and nine pins are holding things together.  I may never get full range back, but like the Mr. said, the only people who really need this motion are those who are making moves by cutting outward.  Still, being the overachiever that I am, I’d like to be able to get back as much of it as I can.

The most important of the above are my Dorsiflexion and Plantarflexion movements.  They are what I need to take simple steps…to walk up and down stairs…to step down off of curbs…to walk uphill and downhill.  That’s why I’m required to stretch on an elevated board every time I go to therapy.  I’m giving serious consideration to purchasing one for my house, because I’ve read on message boards where people continue to struggle with the Achilles tendon getting tight long after “recovery” is over.  The price is hefty, though, so we’ll see.

Overall, I was thrilled with my measurements.  Last week was my eighth since I started physical therapy.  The progress is slowwwwww, but it’s there, nonetheless.

I didn’t get any new exercises added to my regimen.  The only thing we did was to tweak one movement.  Up to last week, I’d been sitting on a bench while using my wobble board to work on all four of the movements listed above.  On Monday, my therapist had me start standing while holding onto a pole and doing the exercises.  Monday was easy, so on Wednesday, she had me stand on my tiptoes on my left foot to put more weight on my right ankle while standing and doing the exercises.  This was decidedly harder.

I’m doing better on the Bosu ball.  The balancing is getting a little easier, although I’m super happy when each minute is over.  My hips still aren’t strong…yet another source of frustration but part of the process.

My gait is continuing to improve.  I recorded myself walking across the house.

I’ve watched it numerous times and am beginning to notice a few things.  My right leg is still stiff, and I seem to still be walking with a heavier step on that side.  It also looks like I’m walking with that foot further out.

I also noticed that my right knee seems to turn in when I walk.  I’m going to ask my physical therapist about it when he gets back from his honeymoon.  He was an athlete in high school and college and knows a lot about this stuff.

Hey, though, my walking is FASTER than it was even a couple of weeks ago!  I still go slow, because I want to focus on my form.  I also go slow because my foot still hurts when I walk.  My big toe is still feeling some pain when I push off of it, and the top part of my foot closest to my ankle is sore almost all the time.  It cracks and pops a lot when I walk, which feels wonderful but can’t be exactly normal since my left foot doesn’t do this.

The word “normal” is such a subjective word, isn’t it?

My new normal looks like this…

In addition to the Juice Plus I’ve been taking for years, I’ve now added bone health supplements…D3, B12, and a magnesium blend.  I’m also taking a turmeric blend for inflammation.

My new normal also includes a lot of days ending like this…

Under the ice is my TENS unit, emitting soothing waves of electric stimulation.

#bliss

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