Two weeks ago I had my fourth physiotherapy session. The ankle is still stiffer than the non-operated one, but it has improved all the time. This time, though, my physician surprised me by bidding me farewell with: “Go jogging, boy”.
My last session was a bit over a month ago and the plan was to do a little jogging there on the threadmill, but it seemed that the ankle had not improved in a way the physician thought. I have practised ashtanga yoga for a few years now and my joint are a bit more flexible than average. This factor did give the appearance of a super fast recovery, but it proved to differ. The recovery was normal, though, but it was too soon for jogging then. Needless to say, I was a bit put back with this and my dreams of getting back to the walls soon shattered.
Then now, a month later, I went to the session with not much of hopes. We talked the normal stuff and he twisted and turned my leg and tested the movement of the joints. We tried the knee-to-wall test which had jumped from last times 13,5cm to 16,5cm. For comparison, the measurement on my “good” leg was initially tested to be 19,5cm. Just to give some perspective on this figure, the normal measurement is 10-12cm. Furthermore, on the initial test my “bad” leg was measured to be 10,5cm, which actually is within the normal range. The therapist wondered if it is benefitical to have such a joint flexibility, but such a hobbies of mine – climbing and ashtanga yoga – that’s what were aiming for then.
We did a few more tests – which showed a good progress – and he then twisted and tried my leg to see how it moves. Then I was surprised that we walked to the “training hall” and he told me to jog a few times back and forth the short matress. Didn’t really know that I was ready for that. Even more I was surprised when he told me to step on the threadmill and start jogging up to almost to a running pace. Didn’t feel any pain, though, which was nice to notice. The jogging was filmed and I was then shown it on a screen with in depth analysis on my stepping. Apparently – and not surprisingly really – I had an over pronation on my feet, but otherwise the jogging was just fine. This meant that there’s no stopping for me to start jogging again with increasing pace. Woohoo!
Since that I haven’t been jogging yet, though, but I have been climbing once. It was quite fine, toproping from easy 4 to a tricky and slopey 6b (just managed to do the moves). The leg felt a bit sore some days afterwards, but otherwise it was fine. Recently we have also moved out from our flat, which has ment a LOT of carrying heavy loads. Initially it felt just ok, but later on I the ankle seemed to get more sore and up to a point that in the morning stiffness it buckled under a little when pressured. Not good. When I got going after breakfast it soon got better as it warmed up on the way. Better. Today I also got to wear the specially made insoles for the first time. During the previous session the physician took moulds of my feet for precision made insoles. Hopefully those will get my feet going even faster.
Dispite the setback of the last few days, I can really see some light in the horizon, and have some hopes for good climbing season still to come. The only climbing session I’ve had showed that all the bare muscle training I have done during the summer have not gone totally in vain, as the climbing felt very strong, though, all my stamina has gone down the drain. Just a couple of climbs with the self-belaying lines and I was completely out of it. A lot of stamina training is in order during the following weeks as I am trying to manage do squeeze in a short alpine trip during early July in mids of all the fuss that is going on. The fast closing due date of my wifes pregnancy and moving in to our new apartment about the time of my trip does make a good mess, but I’ll try to wheel around all this in a shapely manner. It does need a lot of work, though, which requires time that seems not to be an endless resource.
Today I did my first lead, indoors though, since the operation. A meger 5a, but one has to start somewhere!
Just to recap (and remind) for myself (and others) how this all injury, surgery and healing has gone, here are a few pictures on a timeline to wrap this whole thing.
27.08.2011: It all started then. I took lead fall at Kräkinniemi, Kustavi when climbing Amelie (5).
28.08.2011: I got my leg bandaged and put into an AirCast shell. The home for my leg for the next three weeks. Luckily I could take off for sleeping and washing.
03.09.2011: The feet few days after the fall. A bit of swelling here and there.
03.09.2011: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Our vacation in Rome turned into a battle with cobble stones on crutches.
10.10.-14.11.2011: Later I was in Nepal trying to climb Mera Peak (6476m) and Baruntse (7129m). I got on Mera Peak, but had to bail on Baruntse due fever and flu. The injured leg showed no real hindrance, except the lack of training during the last weeks.
Dec 2011: After a two weeks of walking on these the ankle didn’t feel too good. Went to see a doctor again, which said it could be a bruise in the bone. Nothing could be done to speed the healing. I didn’t opt for the MRI to confirm as I might have had to pay it myself.
Spring 2012: The ankle was somewhat improving, but very slowly, if any. Could climb alright, but could do only light jogging.
May 2012: On our trip to South Africa we went hiking some hills and the loose ground and 1600m uphill and downhill made my leg almost unbearably sore. I decided that I would go to see the doctor again once we got back to home.
08.06.2012: Went to see a company doctor which looked that the company insurance would cover the MRI if prescribed by an specialized doctor.
14.06.2012: The orthopedician sent me to the MRI.
20.06.2012: The MRI. First time in my life.
05.07.2012: Got the results from the MRI. A broken cartilage and tendon. Will need a surgery. I was forwarded to a surgeon specialized in feet surgery.
23.08.-01.09.2012: A trip to Chamonix. Had a wonderful week of climbing with my friend. Got to do climbing on 6 days out of 7. Only the walking on melting glacier snow did make the ankle sore and it was pretty stiff and akward to walk on the following day. Didn’t affect the actual climbing at all.
05.09.2012: It was decided to do and an anesthetic test on the ankle and inject some cortisone into it. I went for a run after the shot and it was fine for the 1,5 hour run.
01.10.2012: Check up with the doctor. The leg showed some improvement, I could jog just fine, but it weren’t “perfect”. Very annoying situation. The decicion was to wait a few weeks.
29.10.2012: The ankle was bad again. The surgery was booked to be in December.
06.-09.12.2012: A climbing trip to Siurana, Spain. The last thing to do before the surgery. Had wonderful time, though, we did not climb as hard as we had hoped. Still, a very good trip.
10.10.2012: The surgery. First time ever. I was very, very nervous about the operation. The whole thing was in real a very pleasent experience, if you can say that of an operation. I got crutches, five weeks of sick leave and a bunch of painkillers.
17.12.2012: Removed the wraps for the first time. Took some extra padding off.
21.12.2012: Got the stiches off. The nurse said that it had healed pretty good.
28.12.2012: Walked for the first time to the local supermarket. Took about ~40mins instead of the normal ten 🙂
31.12.2012: Ditched the second crutch.
03.01.2013: Walked first time to the local mall without crutches.
14.01.2013: After operation checkup. Everything was looking fine.
16.01.2013: The first physiotherapy session. The knee-to-wall measurement was 10,5cm.
06.02.2013: The second physiotherapy session. The knee-to-wall measurement was 12,5cm
04.03.2013: The third physiotherapy session. The knee-to-wall measurement was 13,5cm. We were supposed initially to try jogging this time, but it was too early for that 🙁
08.04.2013: The fourth – and currently final – physiotherapy session. We did now the jogging test and others too. Everything looked fine. The knee-to-wall measurement was 16,5cm. I was given permission to start jogging and similar things with causion.
13.04.2013: First climbing session. It has to start somewhere.
24.04.2013: First lead (5a) since the operation. Progress it is.