I have been walking without the boot for just under a month. After seeing the consultant I was given small rubber heel inserts to wear in my own shoes to replace the boot.
At first I was walking slowly, tentatively and very flat footed so I wouldn’t put too much strain on the tendon. Going down stairs was a slight challenge in that I had to remember to always lead with my left ‘bad’ leg as it is the trailing leg that does the most dorsiflexion when stepping down.
By the evening my ankle had swelled around the tendon quite significantly and I began to get worried. When I woke up the swelling had reduced. I had daily dorsiflexion exercises from the physio to perform with a towel, and although it felt like the tendon was stretching, I was in no pain. But once again, by the evening, the swelling had returned.
My worry over the swelling was discussed at my next physio appointment, where she put my mind at ease by explaining this was normal; the tendon is actually working now after being supported for so long in the boot. Swelling is part of its recovery process, although I was to manage the swelling if it continued by elevating the leg and icing it when necessary.
Icing injuries has always been a messy process of using frozen peas or a bag of ice cubes that never stay put on the injury. I decided that if I would be having to do this most nights with my leg elevated I wanted a better solution. So I found the Ice Pack Sleeve with Elastic Strap and a Koolpak Reusable Luxury Hot and Cold Pack to go in it. This meant I could keep the pack in the freezer during the day, and then in the evenings, whilst elevating my leg, I could strap the wrap to my ankle and not worry about it moving around if I got up or changed positions. The ice pack can be molded into shape even straight from the freezer so it is easy to get it into place around my ankle. It stays cold for 30-40 minutes.
Over the last few weeks the swelling has reduced. Of course the heatwave in London hasn’t helped, and any long periods of walking on it will bring the swelling back. But with the help of the ice pack wrap and my daily stretching, my tendon is slowly getting back to a normal, working tendon. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to leave them below.