Injury Timeline

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Average...and that's OK!

I'm really starting to believe that there is hope for recovery!  This week I started to feel like my foot was no longer controlling my life, something that I have not felt in 10 long months.

I treated myself to another hike over the weekend, this time to the Avenues Twin Peaks.  It was more challenging than the other two I have done so far this season, 3.7 miles round trip and over 1,000 ft of elevation gain, so a lot steeper!  I completed it in 2 hours, which is the average pace for the average hiker.  I'm totally cool with being average at this point :)

I was amazed at my foot's progress since my last hike 2 weeks ago, and I feel like I'm getting so much better every time.  I felt a lot more comfortable on my feet, and navigating through the rocks and mud.  I didn't lose my balance or slip and fall for the duration of the hike, which is quite an accomplishment for me, even pre-injury.  I still rely on my poles pretty heavily for balance and for steep uphill and downhill, but that's fine.  That is why I invested a lot on good trekking poles!

There were two summits on the hike, lots of elevation gains and losses throughout.   The ascent of each peak right before was definitely the steepest.  The uphill was fine, except for burning out my glutes and testing the limits of my cardio.  Downhill was a pretty steep descent and was a tad bit terrifying, but I took it slow and grounded my poles in front of me.  I actually kind of turned side-ways on the way down those steep parts so I would have a little more surface area and better balance.  I'd say it was a success because there were no falls :D  For the rest of the downhill, always the most painful for my foot in general, I tried a new technique to help offload some of the impact and weight on the forefoot.  I put my body in sort of a mini-squat position, and stepped down that way.  This sent pretty much everything into my quads, glutes, and calves.  It seemed to work because my foot didn't get sore at all on the way down.  Usually when I hit 2.5/3 miles, it starts to get pretty angry.  The only drawback was how sore I ended up being in my quads and other muscles the next day! To sweeten the deal even more, after the hike, we took my niece to the Natural History of Utah Museum to see the geckos exhibit (and the lizards and chameleons too - she says!), where I did plenty more walking.  My foot really didn't bother me much!  I clocked about 18,000 steps for the day, so I was pretty stoked!

Hike pictures - because I love sharing! I got Nate a GoPro for his birthday and it took some awesome photos!

I have a lot to be happy about right now.  I've worn several different pairs of shoes.  I finally took the stool out of the shower.  I haven't needed it in quite a long time but I've always left it there " just incase"  But, this weekend I finally said the hell with it and got it out of there!  I still have my slipmat, and I don't think I need that anymore either, but it's there just for security.  Maybe in a month or so I'll take that out too!  And yes, there are still "bad" foot days.  But not quite as bad as I imagined they would be and not as often as I thought there would be.  Sometimes it just feels stiff or more sore on some days.  But it isn't really bothersome - just a part of me now.  The good is outweighing the bad and I am extremely positive. 

Coming up on the toes has gotten a lot easier.  My right foot doesn't feel as strong still, but I can come up all the way now (if I'm in shoes) and even do multiple calf raises.  Going down stairs is still kind of a challenge.  I do OK on long stretches of stairs where I can get into a rhythm; it is the little flights or onesy-twosy steps that kill me.  I also found another "first" I can do....which is squat all the way down so my butt is almost on the floor then come up on my toes from there.  I didn't even know I could do it, but I was cleaning the other day and needed to squat down to get some leverage on scrubbing the bathroom tile.  I was very excited.   Also, I went to the movies with the hubby yesterday and decided to race him up the stairs to our seats.  I got about 4 rows up before I even thought about my foot or if I should be doing this.  It was an awesome feeling because I took off bounding up the stairs without a thought in the world about my injury.

I will keep updating this blog.  Even if I have no readers! (Today I noticed I have had over 6,000 views.  Wow you guys!  Thank you!)

You may have a "new normal."


Lisfranc recovery is possible!!

Please stay positive everyone :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Stepping Up My Game

I had another great week!  I hope you guys don't start to get bored with my updates.  I hope they inspire you so that you keep pushing and moving forward.  I started this blog with the intention of turning it into a positive recovery story, so that anyone suffering a Lisfranc injury has hope, and a light at the end of the tunnel that it will eventually be over, and eventually be just a memory.  My injury ended up being on the severe side of things, so yes, there are things that I will never be able to do again (at least, they aren't recommended if I don't want another surgery in 2 years, so yep, taking the doctor's advice), but there are plenty of things that you still CAN do.

I was hoping that this feeling of encouragement and happiness about recovery would have come maybe a few months ago and I really didn't expect the injury to take this long to heal.  Patience is the key and you just have to have it.

So what did I do this week that has me so excited?  Another hike!  I increased my distance and elevation gain with this one, last week's was more of just a baseline on where I was.  Last week's hike was about 2 miles round trip, 0.75 each way and then some tooling around the reservoir, with overall about 450 ft. of elevation gain.  On Friday, I had the day off work and we celebrated my hubby's birthday by going on a hike that was a little more challenging than last week's.

This hike was located in Millcreek Canyon,  on a trail called Rattlesnake Gulch (I'm in Utah, not Colorado) and led to a beautiful overlook of the Salt Lake Valley.  It almost double the distance of last week's adventure, 3.4 miles roundtrip with about 750 ft of elevation gain.  My foot held up so great.  I actually didn't have much pain at all during the entire hike, and it started to get kind of sore about a third of the way back down the trail.  I did have to kind of think about my foot in general though, since the trail was super rocky.  I was conscious of every step, where I was putting my feet, and my weight on each foot.  I was trying not to put too much weight on the right foot, especially on the steep parts.  I tried to lead with my right foot as much as possible so that I wasn't pushing off too much on it.  I let my left foot be the back foot to push myself up the hills.

The rocks really tested my balance and I was grateful for my trekking poles.  There was one section that was almost all rocks, and I tweaked my ankle just a bit.  My foot is seriously not used to this type of activity and this is helping to work on stability.  As anxious as I might be for pushing the foot, I am seeing huge leaps of progress the more active I am.  

I also found out that my cardio totally sucks.  Definitely need to work on that aspect!  During the steepest part of the hike my heart rate got up to 203, according to my Polar Heart Rate Monitor.  I didn't die though.  Overall, it took me about 1hr 50 min to do the hike, exactly on point with the average hiker pace for the Wasatch Mountain Club.  (Slow clap?)  I honestly don't care about pace or speed.   Maybe next year that can be a goal.  Right now it is just about completing the hikes!  I burned about 1300 calories on the hike which had me feeling awesome afterwards.  And yes, we treated ourselves to a birthday dinner at Ruth's Chris later in the evening.


Going up the trail (this was the non-rocky part :) )

At the top - if you zoom in you can see the Salt Lake downtown skyline!
Looking west to the other side of the valley; Oquirrh Mountains in the distance

Looking down at Salt Lake Valley.  The abandoned pipeline is in view, which Google tells me used to power parts of the valley years ago!

The next day, my legs were for sure sore, especially my calves and quads.  Most importantly, my foot was only mildly sore.  Compared to last week's 2 mile hike, and this week's 3.4, it definitely felt more sore this week than last week.  But not really enough to bother me much.  I some gardening that Saturday and we hung another bird feeder, ran errands, and did some shopping, so I still was able to be on my feet and fairly active throughout the day!  There was one point where we had gone to pick up some flowers for the garden at our favorite nursery, and the hubby told me that I was WALKING TOO FAST for him.  What!  (In his defense, I had a pair of tennis shoes on, and he had flip flops, but still)

As I think about it, maybe a year ago if I had gone on this hike pre-injury, I might have noticed the pain or the differences in my two feet.  Maybe it would have bothered me.  Other than getting used to how to hike all over again, I am so pleased with how my foot held up.  I wasn't bothered.  A little sore, but not bothered.  Considering all the time, surgeries and trauma my foot has been through, this was exciting.  This is my new normal now.

And I'm fine with that!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Another First - Hiking!

I had an absolutely fabulous day today!

The weather was finally nice & warm, so Nate and I hit the trails this morning.

I was pretty nervous.  This was my first real attempt at hiking since my injury.  During the spring and summer months, hiking was the way I loved spending my weekends and my favorite way to exercise. I didn't really get to do any hiking at all last year, and the last real hike I did was King's Peak in the summer of 2014.  Then I broke my foot and everything changed.

The hike I chose was a fairly easy one.  It's a hike I've done about a dozen times and one that can be done earlier in the season with little snow, and it's one of my favorites.  There are technically 5 points you can hike to on this 9 mile hike, but I chose to hit only the first one that is about a 2 mile round trip.  It isn't that steep, but still a really good workout!  The goal wasn't to hit any PR's, or do it as fast as I could, or anything like that.  I simply wanted to prove to myself that I could do a hike.

I expected to be slow.  I expected my foot to hurt.  None of that really happened.  It was 0.75 miles to the Lower Bells Reservoir (my destination) and I was able to reach it in about 27 minutes!  In peak performance, it typically would take me 15-20 minutes to get that far.  My pace hadn't slowed that much!  I was taking a little bit of extra time navigating the parts of the trail with rocks, just to be careful.  I brought along my trekking poles and they helped with balance.  My foot actually didn't hurt very much at all.  I could feel muscles working that I hadn't used in a very long time, though, especially on the uneven ground.  We got to the Reservoir and I wanted to go a bit further, so we did a lap around.  We followed the trail mostly, but took a wrong turn and ended up in a swampy, muddy mess.  I was really dirty by the end, but it was all so much fun!  The only part I struggled with was getting back onto the actual trail - we ended up having to bushwhack a bit to get back to the top.  I still have been struggling with calf raises and coming up on my toes in general, and found myself having to boulder up and be on my toes.  I can't say that it was "painful" but it was kind of an uncomfortable feeling trying to push off the right foot.  Like a muscle that you are overstretching or trying to lift something that is too heavy.  I think that it was good that I pushed my limit a little bit, hoping to get that part back to normal eventually!

I was most terrified of going downhill, actually.  So, I thought it would be a slow and painful process and that it would take forever.  But, I didn't!  I did slow my pace down some because I felt a little anxious and really wanted to be careful not to slip or slide down the trail, but the foot held up awesomely.  I used my poles a lot to steady myself coming down.  By the time we made it back to the trailhead, my foot was starting to get pretty sore, mainly in my navicular area.  I think it was going all kinds of crazy angles and just working my foot out in a way that hadn't been done in a while!

Bell's Canyon - Lower Reservoir

I switched to my flip flops after the hike, and getting my foot out of my hiking boot was a bit difficult since it had kind of swollen up a bit.  But really, no real pain.  I expected to be sore for the rest of the day, and while I could tell I'd had activity, I was really surprised how not sore I actually was!  This made me very excited!  I am very encouraged, and thinking already about what I want my hike next week to be.

Update:  I woke up the next morning, a bit sore, but nothing terrible, and nothing I couldn't handle.  I didn't even need to take advil or pain meds, or anything to get through the next day.

I am super pumped!