Tag Archives: iwalk

Nov 14 – physical therapy

Physical therapy for my Achilles tendon rupture couldn’t come fast enough. I know this would probably be the most difficult part of my recovery, even more difficult than the surgery. I’m not a very patient person. When I want to get things done, I want it done in the fastest and efficient way as possible. This is the exact opposite. Achilles tendon rehab is going to be a long and will require a lot of patience as it heals extremely slow. Slow than bone and muscle.

I was a bit nervous at first but the people at this clinic made it very easy to get acclimated. People were very friendly and every chatted with each other. People of all walks of life were here. You see high school athletes who had an injury playing pep sports to the retired fireman who tore an ACL while mountain biking. Everyone had their war story and how they get there.

I worked with Stephen, an intern who graduated from USC, and was toward the end of his 3 month turn. Stephen was very attentive and worked with a seasoned PT to ensure I was on the right track. As I just had the stitches taken out, there was very little I could do in terms of exercise and how they could work on me. The did spend a lot of time deep tissue massage my calf as it was in pain. They used a scraping tool to help the scar tissue. I believe it is the Graston technique. They scrap the tissue to help the soft tissue align. It also helps with increased blood flow and helps alleviate swelling.

They measured how far back I could pull back my toe without discomfort and measured it for record. There were very little exercise I could do. As for actual exercise, I were to move my toes to stimulate blood flow and push my foot against the boot or the arm of my sofa. That’s it. My physical therapy indicated that the following week I can try some band exercises.

After I was done, I iced my foot and hobbled back on my iWalk2.0.

This will be a long journey.

Post Op appt, stitches removed, limited exercises

Nov 4 – Day 11 post Achilles operation first appointment. This was the day I was originally supposed to have my cast removed but I had it removed earlier in the week as I thought it was causing my calf pain. I have been in my boot have been zero weight bearing. To get around, I have been using my iWalk 2.0 but for the most part I stay at home hunkered on my couch with my leg elevated. I cleaned myself by submerging myself in my bathtub which is more like a soaker. I elevate my left foot and tie a garbage bag over it to ensure I do not get it wet. I continued to take both the morphine and the oxycodone. Good news is that I was getting sensation back to my foot and toes. I can actually feel them when I move.

2014-11-03 10.51.39The dr. appointment went smooth. It was a challenge to make my way to the doctor’s office but I just took my time. I initially thought that the stitches would melt away but apparently it had to be removed. Just a nip on one end and tweezers on the other end to pry out the sutures did the trick. It did hurt. Surprisingly, there were two total which had to be removed. I thought there were several but that was it. He then used surgical tape to seal the wound just in case.

Next, the doctor cleared me to begin physical therapy. He asked if I had a place in mind and 2014-11-06 16.47.27that they had one right next door which I can try out. I honestly didn’t and it was convenient to be able to check out a place right next door so I went ahead and made an appointment. My first physical therapy session was going to be Nov. 14th. One month after the rupture and 20 days post op. Meanwhile, I continue to move my toes to encourage blood circulation and elevate my foot above my heart to minimize swelling.

First Weekend with Achilles Rupture

Truth be told, I was just getting used to life with just one leg. I was actually scheduled to play in a soccer game that Saturday with my cousin who just moved to the U.S. That was out of the question.

Part of me was glad that I got the adjustable Maxtrax ROM Air Walker walking boot. I didn’t care much about the air pump but it did feel much more secure instead of the soft / hard splint I got at the ER. I was always paranoid about getting that thing wet.

There wasn’t much I could do other than wait for surgery date to be confirmed. We didn’t get any confirmation of the surgery date / time so my wife and I decided to find another orthopedic surgeon. We went with a referral from a friend who was an oncologist. He knew a orthopedic surgeon from his days in medical school. Upon calling the referral, the office indicated that he only worked on shoulder issues and referred me to their ankle and foot specialist. I guess a referral’s referral was better than finding someone blind. Appointment with Dr. J in Pasadena was made for Tuesday.

I spent the weekend at home icing my foot several times a day while keeping it elevated. I pretty much planted myself on the end of the couch with 3 cushions from our backyard patio set. The cushions were much more flat than any pillows on our house and stacked well.

A new norm

With this injury, I had to revise my daily routine which was the most inconvenient part of this injury. First of all, I had to humble myself to accept help from others. This included help from friends, neighbors, relatives, and especially my wife. God bless her. I actually help out around the house a lot from doing chores, grocery shopping, picking up the kids, and even cooking. All this was out the door for the time being. My primary goal during week one was to keep my foot elevated and reduce the swelling – in other words, just sit.

With the iWalk 2.0, I was able to somewhat do more than being on traditional crutches. But I was still very limited. I am fortunate to be able to drive as my right foot is fine but I kept my activity level at a bare minimum. This weekend, I only went to church and that was it.

Taking a shower was also out of the question as I was not allowed to get my splint wet and it was not possible to maneuver myself in and out of the shower safely. I resulted to submerging myself in my bathtub with my injured leg outside the bath. It was very straining for my back and extremely difficult to get in and out the bathtub. Not much choice and I really wasn’t looking forward to doing this for months to come.

 

There are crutches then there is iWalk 2.0

Growing up, I was very fortunate to not have to use a crutch for a very long time. The closest I got to using a crutch was in high school when I had a knee contusion which lasted only about 3-4 days. I lived in an area where everyone drove so I barely had to use my crutches to get around. This time it was different. I had to heavily rely on the crutches to get around within my house and outside. The morning after the injury, I woke up in the morning to the kitchen to make some coffee. It was a challenge but I managed to brew a cup while resting my full weight using my armpit. Then it suddenly hit me. I couldn’t move my coffee to the dining table from the kitchen as I needed to use both hands to walk with the crutch. It was a revealing moment of things to come and the challenge ahead. I ended up hopping my way to the dining room (which I do not recommend) and spilling coffee along the way. “Great…”, I thought to myself.

I did what I could to enjoy my coffee and breakfast then started reading online on Achilles recovery and surgery options. It was then when I came across an advertisement for iWalk 2.0 which was strategically placed at an Achilles surgery information website. I read the testimonials and studied the videos and I was sold. I’m usually very skeptical of infomercial type adverts but I was desperate and they sold me on exactly what I was able to still have control over. I went over to Amazon and read the reviews and pulled the plug.

The iWalk 2.0 arrived on Friday Oct 15th. It came in a well packaged box and assembly was IMG-20141126-WA0005simple. They had numerous warning to make sure you follow the video instructions, which I did, and was glad I did. There were numerous adjustments to be made to ensure the height of the knee rest was appropriate and the belts were snug. Assembly took me about 10 min with no tools. It literally took me about 15 seconds to get used to the iWalk. Almost immediately, I was able to move around my house with ease but most importantly, regained the use of my hands and arms. Not only am I able to use my hands to carry my coffee around the house, I was also able to cook and do the dishes to help alleviate my wife from doing everything.

Some recommendations. You need to adjust the settings to ensure the belts and latches are snug. If it is loose, you will not be able to walk and may be dangerous. Also, it is much easier to release the latches if you loosen the length of the belts before you unlatch them.

Now for some cons. If you are in an environment where you need to sit and stand a lot, this may not be your best option. Although, it is not difficult to take the iWalk off and on, it is a hassle as there is no way to sit down with this on. Getting on and off a car is a hassle. The item is quite bulky in its configuration making it difficult to lift it across you to store in the car. Lastly, you can trip and slip with this especially if you get caught on the exterior of your injury. I have this on my left foot and if I was moving to my left and get caught or trip over a crack, I will fall. There is no way to save yourself except to break your fall with your arm. You just need to make sure you left your leg as if you are walking and not drag your iWalk across the pavement.

All in all, I am very happy with this product. You will get A LOT of people approaching you inquiring you about your iWalk. Most of them are curious and simply want to know how it works. A lot of Amazon reviewers claim that you will get a lot of “looks” and experienced a bit of stigma in public places but I didn’t this. If anything, people took a quick look and then went on their own business.

Give it a try and leave a comment on how it goes!