Image of foot with bones

2 Years After Foot Surgery – Slow But Steady Progress!

Two years ago was Feb 4, 2020. The “before-COVID” times. It was also the day I had foot surgery, specifically an osteotomy, to address my inflamed posterior tibial tendon (aka. my flat arches were causing issues). I had to have three large incisions on my left foot, and one on my calf to “lengthen my calf muscle.”

Afterwards I had to be non-weight bearing on my left foot for four weeks, and I was riding around on a knee scooter like a pro! Then I used crutches for four weeks, and after that did three months of physical therapy. You can read more about the details here, and even see gross post-surgery foot pictures if you want to!

The healing process felt never-ending. Even after I was discharged from physical therapy, I wasn’t back to normal. I still had a bit of a limp sometimes. When I first got up in the morning, my left foot was stiff and I would hobble around for a while until it loosened up. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to go running again, and honestly I was kind of afraid to, since that was the catalyst for my injury.

Even one year later, I was still keenly aware of some of my limitations that I hadn’t had before my foot injury – like experiencing some residual foot pain and always needing to wear supportive/orthotic shoes.

I think it’s valuable to take a moment today to look back and remember where I was two years ago, so that I can fully appreciate just how far I’ve come in terms of recovery. In my post from May of 2020 (four months after the surgery) I had written:

My foot is not perfect, I’m still waiting for that glorious day when I can do a heel raise while standing only on my left foot, but I’m not there yet. I’m longing for when I can go on a walk around the block without limping or feeling sore, and I’m dreaming about a day when I might be able to go for a jog again.

May 2020

Later that year in October, five months after writing those words, I went for my first post-surgery jog. It had been 17 months since I had been able to run. I couldn’t run as far or as fast, and my foot was really sore after, but I did it.

How often do we get to receive the things our hearts are so desperately longing for? Honestly, it may be more often than we think. If you do any sort of journaling – whether it’s personal writing, blogging, or even photo journaling – it makes it easy to see where you were and how far you’ve come.

Many times we get the exact things we’re hoping for, and we’re happy for a little while, but then we move on to hoping for the next thing, and then the thing after that. It’s easy to feel like we haven’t “made it” yet because there’s always something we are looking to accomplish next.

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Why Writers Walk

I work in an academic library at a private Christian university. Each week in the Library, sessions for faculty take place in our center for teaching and learning. Basically this means that faculty offer presentations to other faculty as a way to encourage professional development or personal growth – they are free, and usually a lunch is also provided. (Win-win!)

Not all of the sessions generally apply to me, as I am not traditional teaching faculty, (I am Library faculty), but I go to the ones that seem interesting or pertinent to my job. Last week I had the opportunity to attend a session on creative writing – specifically on how the act of walking positively impacts our writing.

One of our Lang/Lit professors led the session, and she did an amazing job. By the end of it, I was convinced (or maybe reconvinced) that I needed to start walking daily to benefit my writing.

The connection between walking and writing is nothing new – many renowned authors were walkers. In the book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, there is a whole chapter discussing the reasons why many creative and successful people (Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ludwig van Beethoven, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Dickens to name a few) incorporated long walks into their routines.

I strongly believe in the connection between walking and creativity – my issue is more just a matter of prioritizing it and doing it.

The day the session was scheduled, it was pouring rain outside, and Abilene also was under a tornado watch. (We don’t typically get tornados, so I didn’t worry too much.) I figured the “Walk and Write” session scheduled for 11:30 would be cancelled. But the rain had stopped by then, and it left everything fresh and clean – really just perfect for walking.

One of the walking/writing exercises I did was called a “photo walk.” During a 10-minute walk, you take a picture of something that strikes your fancy, and then later you write a descriptive paragraph about the photo. You can be as imaginative as you want in describing the picture. If any emotions were stirred within you, you can lean into those while you write. The idea is just to get you inspired.

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Foot Surgery Update: 1 Year Later

Today, February 4th, marks one whole year since I had foot surgery!

Just as a recap, I had surgery to fix a problem with my posterior tibial tendon… basically my feet have really flat arches and there was a lot of inflammation in my left foot around the tendon that connects from the foot arch to the calf muscle. I had been in a boot for the latter half of 2019, and nothing seemed to be helping my foot get better. Hence, foot surgery! (For a lengthier description of the surgery, you can read my post from May 2020).

June 2019 – my coworker and I matched!

At the time of surgery, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to go running again, and I hoped that I would at least be able to walk normally again in the near future. For a long time it seemed like it neither of those things would ever happen – but they did!

I wanted to give an update as a way to encourage those who might find themselves in similar “is-there-a-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” situations – the short version is I’m about 95% back to normal! (Hooray!)

Things I can do today:

  • wear a pair of matching shoes (aka. no boot!)
  • walk long distances without assistance
  • climb stairs
  • jog, run, and sprint (that last one only for short distances)
  • balance on one foot (left and right)

Continued limitations I have:

  • must wear very supportive shoes (no cute flats, flip-flops or high heels!)
  • need to wear orthotic inserts inside my already expensive supportive shoes
  • some pain/tightness occasionally with my left foot and calf
  • need to monitor and be better aware of my body – if something hurts, I need to honor it, not push through the pain – maybe this isn’t a limitation, just good common sense!

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