When I was cleared to work my way back to normal movement, I set myself a goal. That goal was to get back to the gym by the end of the following week. I was a little worried that that may have been a little overzealous, but oh boy was I wrong.
I had the boot off for the first time on Friday, and Saturday morning I was in the gym. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do anything crazy in the gym, but I did manage nearly an hour of gentle spinning, which was amazing for my mental health and gave me a huge burst of energy that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, this part of my recovery has not been all sunshine and rainbows. Rebuilding my tolerance for exercise and rebuilding muscle in my left leg is hard, and has left me feeling more than a little sore, but at least my part of recovery is in my control. I don’t have complete control over how my body moves right now, but I’m able to make choices that can speed up my recovery, rather than having to wait for an external force to decide how much I can do and how long until I am back on my feet.
Beyond having more mobility, one of the biggest things that has me feeling positive right now is that I am in control of how quickly I get back to normal. I decide how much I push myself to move. Yes, there are still limitations in the tissue in my ankle, but now that the bone is completely healed, I have a whole lot more control because I am not at a huge risk of re-injuring myself.
So far I’ve been to the gym a few times, just spinning for a little under an hour, because that’s what my body can handle right now. It won’t be long though, before I can handle at least a little more.
Right now I could be working on my upper body if I was so inclined, but I’ve found the hour on the bike challenging enough. Not to mention the challenge of navigating an often busy gym. Not only do I need to move myself around the gym (which is not exactly fast), I need to find somewhere to lean my crutches and I need to make sure I am on sure footing and not at risk of getting kicked or tripped by someone else. The things we take for granted. I would have never worried this much about where other people put their water bottles before this accident, but now I need to be hyper-aware of everything on the floor which is a potential hazard.
Worrying about tripping and falling won’t be a problem forever, but until the imbalance in my legs is gone (or close to it) and until the muscles in my ankle are strong again, my balance is not that great, and the last thing I would want to do right now is damage any of the tissue in my ankle to slow down my recovery. It’s been long enough to get this far, I don’t need a major setback to prolong my recovery even more.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m being a little paranoid, but as I’m sure anyone who’s been in the same situation can understand, I just want this to be over, and I’ll go to some significant lengths to make sure it doesn’t take any longer than it absolutely needs to.
Giving The Boot the boot has been both scary and exciting. Being back in two shoes has it’s own host of problems, from finding shoes that actually fit on my left foot to the worry of not being as strong as I’d like to be, but mostly it’s leaving me feeling mostly positive most days. I’m moving along pretty quickly (without hurting myself) and I’ve got the benefit of a great physio team to help me out, and this most recent step has been easier for me than a lot of people, which I certainly don’t take lightly.
With the exception of one day just before my most recent fracture clinic appointment, I went straight from The Boot to two shoes, which is not what most people do. It typically takes a little time to readjust and get some muscles activation before you can ditch The Boot for good, but because I’ve spent so much time on each piece of walking, I had a solid enough base to (figuratively) jump straight in.
If you’re in a similar point in your recovery (or even earlier, honestly), making sure you’re getting high quality care from a great physio (or four) will make each step in this journey just a little easier. The longer you wait for physio, the harder and longer your road to 100% will be. It’s hard enough, why make your journey harder?