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Monthly Archives: June 2013

It has been 5 days since I started physical therapy and my life has happily started to change.  Outside of the safety of physical therapy room, I was given permission to either walk with one crutch and my sneaker on my recovering foot or walk without crutches and with my boot protecting my foot.  ( I was taught how to do both things.) My foot’s vacation is over!!

My foot longs to walk in a sneaker

So this morning I decided to brave going to church without crutches or my beloved scooter, wearing just my bedazzled boot. It is quite a walk from the parking lot to the sanctuary and I knew I was taking a bold move.  My husband was willing to let me use his arm for my “crutch” and after a few steps we both realized I didn’t really need his support physically, but I needed the reassurance psychologically.

It was a heady experience walking into church for the first time in 7 weeks!  The friends I saw rushed over to say “hi” to the new me, walking once again!  The exhilaration of walking far outweighed the amount of pain I had to endure.

Here’s what is happening to me psychologically.  I am now having a hard time not walking!  I find myself more and more passing up my scooter and my crutches and just walking to my desired destination despite the pain. Walking makes me feel normal and I love it!

This afternoon, I paid the price for my new found confidence.  All the walking I did this morning followed by my physical therapy exercises, and my water walking therapy, caused my foot to swell up like a bloated wood tick!

My foot was so swollen it barely fit in my sneaker
So once again I am back to icing and elevating!  It feels like I am taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back.  But at least I am making progress!
Icing and elevating again!

This evening will be filled with rest for my foot, ice, elevation and extra strength tylenol. However, no amount of pain can take away the satisfaction I feel from walking again!

Today is exactly 7 weeks after my surgery for my lisfranc fracture,  and I am now officially driving!!!!!  Since my recovering foot is my right foot, I have been unable to drive for 7 long weeks!  


My surgeon cleared me to drive as soon as I could move my foot well enough to apply pressure to the gas pedal and, more importantly, the break.  The exercises my physical therapist gave me this week included re-learning several of the motions needed to drive, and various stretches for the muscles in my toes, ankle and calf.


This morning my husband and I took a practice drive around the neighborhood, just to see if I was going to be able to physically manage the movements and deal safely with any pain while driving.  The driving aspect actually was very natural for me and the transition was painless.


However, I discovered having the physical ability to drive is just half of the equation. I also needed to be mentally prepared to drive. The fear of re-injury, and thoughts of having to experience the painful recovery again has made me hesitant for each new step in my journey.  I am constantly surprised at how much psychological healing I have to do during each stage of recovery. 


Today, during physical therapy, my therapist had me walking over barriers which were no more than a foot high.  Sounds easy, right?  Not for me! 


She told me to lead with my recovering right foot and remember to put my heel down first and then my toe and then let my left foot follow.   I was hesitant to take the first step, trying to remember everything she said, wondering how much it was going to hurt and fearing I would completely lose my balance.  I stood there for a while thinking things through and finally she held out her hand which I immediately grasped.  Suddenly, I could slowly walk the  hurdles.  


The next attempt she held out her hand, and asked me not to hold on.  But, mentally I knew it was there if I needed it, and once again I could manage the hurdles with ease. It became clear to both of us that I had the physical capability, but I needed to gain confidence mentally in order to proceed.  

 

When we got to the part in therapy where it was time to practice walking, I was concentrating so hard on all the proper movements, and even held my arms away from my body for balance when my therapist started to laugh.  I looked up at her smiling and asked her what was so funny?  She said that her 1 year old walked better than I do!  So, of course I got the giggles as I pictured her one year old tottleing around with more natural balance than me!   It felt so good to laugh at myself! She then said that I was over thinking my steps and to try and let it come naturally for me.  This was wonderful advice.  After letting go of trying to do it perfectly, my steps did come out right.  Slow, but great for now!!!

 

My physical therapist and I spent some time discussing the psychological aspect of recovery and she assured me that with a lisfranc surgery, psychological healing is always a part of rehab.  It often times can be harder to conquer than the actual physical rehab!  I am learning to not be so afraid and more importantly to remember to find humor during this part of the journey.

 

Today I started pool therapy for my lisfranc surgery recovery.  My physical therapist endorsed my surgeon’s suggestion that I walk for 20 minutes each day in our pool in chest high water. 


 I found walking in the water is a lot less painful than trying to practice walking in a sneaker. It proved to be a wonderful way to practice learning to walk again while I repeated my mantra “heal, toe, follow through.”  If you have access to a pool, I highly recommend water therapy.  (with your Doctors and therapists permission of course.)


I did 2 20 minute sessions followed by the exercises my physical therapist gave me.  I am so tired physically and mentally!  And  my foot is really upset with me, so I have to call it quits for today.  I am once again sitting in my chair with my ice air cast on and my foot elevated.  But, despite the pain, I also have a sense of satisfaction that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Yesterday was my first physical therapy appointment.  I woke up at 5:00am anticipating the beginning of the 3rd and final part of my lisfranc recovery journey.

My therapist is well informed about lisfranc surgeries and we spent the first several minutes talking about how I acquired my injury, all the misdiagnosis’ and finally how I felt the surgery went.She then asked me to take off my boot and she inspected my foot comparing it to my normal foot.  We talked in depth about pain levels and which movements cause which kinds of pain.  I was immediately impressed that she already knew so much about all the different kinds of pain I have been experiencing.

When we started talking about my continual big toe aching and ongoing numbness I found out that during lisfranc open reduction/fixation surgery my big toe was held down in an awkward position throughout the entire surgery.  Now I know why it still hurts so much and I am no longer worried that something is wrong.

When she asked me to stand in my stocking feet and put all of my weight on my recovering foot I broke out into a cold sweat and started to shake all over.  I told her that as motivated as I was to get my life back, I didn’t think my foot was ready yet. I honestly thought the pain would be too great.

My therapist said a lot of the recovery from lisfranc surgery is psychological.  We talked several minutes about the fear if re-injury and how tough the last 6 weeks have been.  I shared with her that even the thought of having to go through this experience again terrifies me.  She reassured me that my bones have done all the healing they can and that there was no way I was going to re-injure myself with the exercises she was going to ask me to do.

She then took my hands and I slowly lifted up my good foot and eased into putting my entire weight on my recovering foot.  Did it hurt?  Absolutely!  Was it worth it?  Without a doubt!  After holding the position for 20 seconds, I was so happy I couldn’t stop smiling.  I looked up at her and she was beaming too.

She showed me 4 other exercises she wanted me to do which were all painful at first.  But as my muscles started to wake up again, it got easier and less painful with each movement.

Next she brought me over to a recumbent stationery  bike and told me I was going to pedal for 7 minutes.  I couldn’t believe it!!!  I looked at her in shock and said, “really?”  She had me grab the handle bars which showed my pulse at 130.  That was how scared I was to try peddling a bike!  At first she let me use my left leg to do all the work while my right leg went along for the ride.  But after a few revolutions, my right leg was able to join in.  As the pain lessened, my pulse dropped down to 72 and I was able to go faster and faster.  I was so pleased with myself that I went 10 minutes and 1 3/4 miles before she came and pulled me off the bike.  I was out of breath and ecstatic!  I actually used my foot to pedal a bike.

Now I was ready for the final part of my first physical therapy session.  She was going to teach me how to walk again! Very slowly I took my fist step: Heel down, rotate weight to toes, follow through with bending the arch.  I had to take it slower than a 2 year old, but I managed several steps in a row and all without the boot!!!!!

We finished the session with the most wonderful ice machine which wrapped my foot in ice and massaged it at the same time.

I was sent home with 6 exercises to do twice a day and was also instructed to practice walking a few steps several times a day while repeating my new mantra, heel, toe, follow through!!

 

Oaky, I’m done with this whole lisfranc surgery/pain/healing process.  I just want it to be over!!!!  I am at 6 weeks 3 days post lisfranc surgery and am really tired of my foot aching and not being able to walk and not having my normal life back yet.  That is my rant for today.I tried to rush the healing process yesterday and paid the price. Unfortunately the friend of mine who lent me her knee scooter fell off her bike and broke her leg.  Needless to say, she needed her knee scooter back.  I thought I was far enough along in my partial weight bearing to be able to transition away from both the shower chair and the knee scooter.  I was dead wrong!My head is not in tune with the current ability of my body.  We went to church and ran a couple of errands which meant I took way too many steps with the help of my crutches. By 2:00 I was back in my bed, curled up in pain with my ice air cast on.We met some friends for dinner but had to forgo going to their house afterward because I was in so much pain.  Once again I came home and curled up with ice and pillows.

This morning my foot was almost too sore to bear any weight.  I had to admit to myself that this is not going to be over for some time yet and I needed to dig deeper for more patience.  So I found a place to rent a knee scooter and have stayed off my foot for most of the day.  Sigh

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