Rehab can seem ‘boring’ and is very repetitive, but it is the beauty of this consistency – doing everything as and when required – that you start to see progress and breakthrough. I guess that goes for creating breakthrough success in life as well! You need to do the little things diligently and consistently before you see the fruits of your labour! As Mikel Thomas puts it in his motivational story here, you need ‘consistency before the breakthrough!’
Six days ago on Thursday 7th July, I stepped out of the boot and walked unaided for the first time since 30th April 2016. Whoop! (Celebrate your small victories!)
You can share in the joy of my first steps here and journey with me along the path that got me to that point too. Right now though I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing since this momentous occasion in terms of strengthening the Achilles tendon and other surrounding muscles, regaining flexibility and getting back to full fitness – basically, here’s my post-surgery rehab program so far…
6-8 weeks’ post-surgery rehab:
I am past this point now, but I think this Achilles rehab was integral to my ability to be able to walk with confidence once out of the boot.
5×45 second 30% strength resistance holds 3x per day – push against a towel or band held on your foot. The premise behind this activity is to fire up the calf muscles again and to get blood-flowing through the Achilles tendon to promote healing and stimulate muscle growth.
3×10 Body Weight (BW) Double Leg (DL) calf raises against a wall (3x per day)
8 weeks’ post-surgery/Week One of Freedom
- 3×15 BW DL Calf Raises (full range)
- (6x 5 second SL assisted isometric holds) x3
I have also been doing a ton of stretching! Like all the time. And even for the two weeks that I was allowed to walk about weight-bearing with my air boot on I did the non-weight-bearing stretches below, albeit with less intensity. But it paid off because the physio was surprised by the amount of flexibility in my calf on that first day out of the boot. The small things really do make a big difference, particularly on a rehab journey.
‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Lao Tzu
Here was my flexibility on day one out of the boot; the flexibility my physio was impressed by…..
(Sorry if you’re not a major feet fan!)
Achilles Tendon Rehab Stretches
- When you are sat or lying down stretch your calf and Achilles tendon by pulling your toes up towards your knee whilst simultaneously pushing your heel down with intention to lengthen as much as possible. Feel and visualise your tendon stretching as though it is being pulled from both sides like in a game of tug of war!
- You can use your hand, a towel or stretching band to do the same as the above.
- When you are walking up the stairs, stop and stretch. Hold on to the banister, drop your heel below neutral and hold the Achilles stretch for 30seconds. Walk up a few more steps and repeat. Try 3-4x30seconds every few hours.
When to stretch? 3-4 times per day! Every 4 hours.
When to rehab? Every 6 hours. As my physio loves to tell me, tendons love load little and often rather than one big hit once a day. That doesn’t mean curb your sleeping hours to wake up and load your tendon. Sleep is just as important for your recovery program as the exercises! (I’ll write about sleep and diet another time, perhaps.)
Six days on, I’ve progressed from about a -10cm knee-to-wall to -1cm! Yay!
I know this is a super-technical post and generally only relevant if you are recovering from Achilles tendon surgery, but I thought I’d share this for people who have been asking about this!
I promise something more exciting next week! I’m having a girly sleepover at my friend’s new home this weekend and I’m speaking at a business meeting for new business startups on Sunday (I’m hoping they’ll feel inspired!). So I’ve a busy weekend and will hopefully have lots of pictures, thoughts and reactions to share with you next time!
P.s. If you can’t view the videos, or would like to check out the other videos in the series, click here.
Anybody else going through a challenging recovery period, be that physical, emotional, spiritual or mental? What have you been doing to push through and ensure your full recovery? Feel free to share them in the comments below or drop me an email (contact)!