The last time I posted one of these updates, I was hoping that I would be able to work on running and jumping again within a month or two.
Well, in my last physical therapy session, which took place right after the 7 month anniversary of my injury, my therapist had me run and jump–sort of.
I am now starting to practice very short two-legged jumps. Easter Bunny hops, more or less. The goal is to strengthen the muscles and also learn how to use the flex in my knees to absorb the impact, rather than transferring it all to my Achilles tendons.
I am also practicing the footwork part of jumping jacks, which I suppose helps with lateral movement as well as simply jumping.
My therapist also had me try a light jog, which felt very strange. I describe what happens as “I’m sending the same signals to both legs, but they react very differently.” My jog is very uneven, which is something I need to correct.
Enter the AlterG treadmill! This fancy piece of equipment uses air pressure to hold up your body, allowing you to jog as if you only weighed a fraction of your body weight. I remember seeing it for the first time during one of the many times Andrew Bynum was recovering from a leg injury. After slipping on what feels like rubber compression shorts and being zipped into the machine, we dialed the machine to 50%, and I was able to run for the first time since my injury. It was only eight minutes at a five MPH pace, but I was able to run without a limp!
I’ve got another three weeks until my next physical therapy appointment, and you can bet I’ll be doing my exercises and trying to inch closer to being back to 100%.