It’s been two months now since surgery on my ankle at the beginning of October and I couldn’t be happier. Sure my ankle is still stiff and there’s continued numbness around my toes. But, the pain from the end stage ankle arthritis I was suffering has ceased completely. I continue to get physical therapy and religiously do my exercises at home, adding more as my ankle replacement improves.
I saw Dr. Clanton at The Steadman Clinic just before Thanksgiving for my two month followup. He was pleased with my progress and with the flexibility of my ankle though he declared my Achilles Tendon still tight. I’ve got to work on that. I don’t want to give him any reason to go in to “loosen it up”.
We drove down to our condo in Scottsdale to enjoy some winter warmth and prepare it for the tenants that are renting January-March. I’m still sleeping in the walking boot, doing everything I can, likely overkill, to help the surgery on my ankle heal and recover as fully as possible. As a result, sleep still isn’t comfortable.
Yolanda and I have hiked a few of our favorite desert trails. These are the first hikes I’ve taken on my new InBone 2 ankle replacement. Even though I weaned myself fully away from the walking boot a couple weeks ago, my hiking boots are somewhat uncomfortable. My formerly splint-scrunched toes and the numbness across the toe pads on the bottom of my foot cause sensitivity. And, I’m not totally comfortable hiking on rocky trails yet.
I’ve found a physical therapist at Spooner Physical Therapy in Scottsdale. The environment is very different from my small therapist’s office in Colorado. Not knowing differently because it was my first experience with PT, I thought the personal attention I received from Matt Pakorny was typical. But no, Spooner PT is a big operation.
Where Matt spent the entire session with me first massaging and manipulating my ankle and foot, then personally supervising my exercises, at Spooner I have two people. Jared is my therapist. He massages and manipulates my ankle and then turns me over to Alex, a technician who works with me on the exercises prescribed by Jared.
Whereas I would only encounter a couple of patients at Matt’s, here there are a dozen or more and this during off-peak hours. Plus, ages range all the way down to a tiny infant whose protective head gear and pathetic cries tug at my heart to a partially crippled old guy whose work ethic and drive are inspiring.
No complaints though. Jared and Alex are conscientious and over the next month push me and my ankle replacement with new and more difficult exercises that build strength and flexibility.
I’ve been in the market for a new pair of hiking boots. I complained above about their discomfort and hope to find something that is less stiff and wider across the front of my foot. I make the rounds of several shoe stores and find some promising pairs, nothing perfect though.
I happen upon a Big 5 Sporting Goods that is closing it’s location. They must’ve brought in goods from other locations which haven’t sold. There is a trove of boots to choose from, most single pairs in odd sizes. I try several on. Things are promising. And then near the bottom of a stack of boxes I spy a Colombia Hammond Hiking Boot size 11 Wide.
I try it on and voila’, this is it! Maybe a tiny bit big but the width is perfect. What’s more, it’s a Mid, meaning with a higher top, just right to protect my new ankle and on top of it it’s waterproof. For 70% off I can’t believe my luck! It’s the most comfortable hiking boot I’ve ever owned.
I’m a happy camper. Walking and hiking have suddenly gotten much easier.
The next big test of my replacement surgery on my ankle is a cruise through the Panama Canal. Yolanda and I drive first to San Diego to leave our car at my mom’s and then fly to Florida to see friends and family. The cruise leaves from Fort Lauderdale and after two weeks ends in Los Angeles with stops in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico.
There will be lots of walking both on the ship and on land. Many streets will be cobbled or in poor condition so they’ll be lots of opportunities to put my new ankle replacement to the test. We’re looking forward to a relaxing trip exploring new places and doing lots of hiking. Just hope I don’t overeat.
Next: Meeting others with ankle replacements on the ship.