9 months post ATR still can't get up on toes

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I had an Achilles' tendon repair in August. It's been 9 Months and I still cannot bear weight AT ALL on my toes! My PT never worked on this, just stretching and ROM exercises. Can anyone post ATR give me some advice or exercises to help me achieve this goal?? It's still very weak and painful daily! I'm so disgusted with my surgeon and my PT!! Thanks in advance!

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  • Posted

    Hello, Donna.  I also had ATR last August. Full strength has not returned. I found the best exercise is standing on a step holding railing facing steps. In this position your toes are on step, and heel is hanging over.  SLOWLY (using both feet) lower you heels. This will provide some stretch. The using both feet, raise your heels so you are standing on your toes. In this manner you can shift your weight so your non surgical foot is bearing most of the weight, and your surgical foot is bearing some--even if it is just a small amount.  But the muscles and tendons required for heel raise are engaging through full range of motion. Try for 10, then slowly increase. You will find that, with time, you will be able to take more weight on injured foot.  

    When you can do 20, try lifting your stronger foot at the top, and slowly lower yourself on the surgical foot. You may be able to do this once or twice, but it will definitely strengthen the calf and other muscles that have been inactive during healing. It is slow, for sure,  it effective if you stick with it.  It will be uncomfortable, but just bear as much weight on injured foot as you can without pain--even if it is just a little. 

    Hope this works for you, and wish you complete recovery.  

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for this info Rob! I will get started on these exercises today!! I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again!

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  • Posted

    Hi Donna

    I'm almost in the same boat as you. I am 5 months post op. I can get up on my toes with both feet together but it's difficult. My therapist wanted me to be able to lift my good foot off the ground and lower down on my bad foot. My calf muscle is still too weak for that.

    I'll tell you a few exercises my therapist gave me. I had to do sitting exercises for the first couple of weeks cause my foot was too swollen to put in my shoe. So the first one is to put a towel on the floor and spread your toes and try to grab the towel in between your toes and pull the towel back towards you. She had me do that for 2 minutes. Another one was to put a bunch of marbles on the floor and pick them up with your toes and put them in a container. That was also 2 minutes. I couldn't find marbles at home so I just did the movements. It was hard to pick them up at first but eventually I was a pro at it. It definitely helps the muscles in your toes and foot. Third one is sitting calf raises. Even my doctor told me to do as many as possible several times a day. Since I've been back to work I haven't had the time and by the time I'm home at night I'm in so much pain that I don't feel like it. It's basically the same thing rob told you just sitting down. Maybe put pressure on your legs a bit to give it some resistance.

    I hope that helps and good luck in your recovery

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  • Posted

    Hi Donna

    I'm now 13 months on and starting to run.

    My first suggestion would be to get your self a balance board and a wobble cushion which you can get fairly cheap on eBay....

    1. With balance board start by standing on it but support yourself by holding onto a high chair in front of you.... do 10 forward and back rock motions and then repeat side ways if possible... you may struggle at the start but you will build it up with practice. I literally used to do it in the lounge whilst watching tv..

    2. The wobble cushion will help with core stability and balance so start with both feet and when it begins to build up try just 1 leg but don't push with this too quickly.... slowly but surely is the way!!

    3. the stretch on the stairs is also very good... alternatively what I done was put a closed pack of A4 printing paper on the floor and rolled a towel and put it on the edge... then with bare feet do stretching and raises. Again use support of something in front of you like a chair or holding onto a table etc...

    In addition it really makes all the difference with a good PT so I would recommend if you can to pay for a private one if possible and see them once a month as it keeps you motivated too!!

    Good luck!!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Donna, I am 8 weeks post injury - 60% partial rupture, no surgery; air cast for 6-7 weeks, removed it gradually week6 to 7.  Now cast is off.  I am sorry about your PT.  I would strongly recommend you find a new one.  The exercises the others have offered are great I think.  Many of them to early for me (the stairs).  I am blessed with a great PT, great at explaining what is happening inside my foot and with exercises to stretch, ROM and strenthen.  Currently just practicing walking forward, going from heel to toe and then backward - a great way to regain one's balance back.  Also practicing standing on toes.  No weight bearing yet on bad foot when on toes, though. I think I am on the right track and I hope the ideas you have been given really help.

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