Ashley Judd is walking again without assistance nearly six months after shattering her leg in four places in a "catastrophic" accident in the Congo back in February.
Judd, 53, shared the health update on Instagram alongside a series of photos and videos in a carousel to document her recovery journey as she begins to walk again. In the caption, she penned a lengthy message about the process, sharing details on her progress as well as gratitude for her doctors and fans for thinking of her over the last few months.
“Dear Friends, It is with reverence and quiet awe I offer this update. Today, five months and three weeks after the accident in the Congolese rainforest, I walked again, and in what fashion!” she wrote. “I hiked in the #SwissNationalPark. Stepping in, I felt in my ease, my natural garment of self, at home in my spirit. My leg and foot, worked beautifully. I walked up hill on uneven surfaces for an hour confidently and came down carefully and easily. I rested in a meadow on God’s fecund earth for hours.”
She continued, adding, “The next day, I walked again on a high Alp in #Ticino, working hard and feeling how much I stamina I have to rebuild. This is the road ahead.”
Despite the continued path to recovery ahead of her, Judd says that she is “up to the daily tasks” and has even been carrying firewood by herself to her hut in the Swiss Alps.
Judd went on to thank the people in her life who assisted in her recovery process and made it all possible, including the trauma orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Phil Kregor, who she's previously thanked on Instagram.
“He, in consultation with of Dr Susan Mackinnon & Dr Scott Levin, made a very gutsy decision to decompress my deeply damaged peroneal nerve,” she said, before explaining the reason she shared a short clip in the post of her foot moving around in circles. “The video of my foot moving is unheard of. We expected my foot - if ever - to *begin* to move in one year. In four months to the day, she went blew us all away. Now, after crying while trying to spell the ABCs with a paralyzed foot….well, you see!”
Judd has acknowledged that she knows things with her leg will not be like they were before her accident, writing, “She is a new leg. And I love her. We are buddies. We have a come a long way and we have a fabulous life ahead.”
The actor took a moment in the caption to thank Dr. Nathan Belt, her physical therapist, Kim O’Neil, and her AcroYoga instructor, Almuth Kramer, adding, “I have been loved and understood and helped in my healing.”
“Many of you have been praying for me, and sending me notes,” she concluded the personal caption. “Thank you. I have felt you. I have especially been held by family and my partner. Peace be with you.”
Judd has been traveling regularly to Congo over the years in order to study the endangered bonobo population. Her most recent trip didn’t go as planned as she participated in a routine walk with researchers in the morning.
As she was walking, Judd did not see the fallen tree on the path and fell over it, leading to a 55-hour ordeal that nearly caused her to lose her leg. Luckily, several of the local Congolese people were able to tend to the actor before she was transferred to a hospital in South Africa for medical attention.
The beginning of her recovery was tough to bear. In March, Judd shared a candid post to Instagram, writing an emotional message in the caption to capture her feelings at the time, which she described as “drowning in trauma.”
Judd had her family by her side all throughout her recovery. In the same post, she shared that her sister, Wynonna Judd, 57, helped wash her hair during the process. Their mother, Naomi Judd, also said she would pitch in to nurse her daughter to recovery.
The 75-year-old singer opened up about her daughter’s incident on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” in March, sharing, “She’s very courageous, and she’s healing.”
“It’s really hard to see her like this,” Judd admitted. “She lives next door, so I’m going to go up and take her stitches out when we’re done ‘cause I used to be a nurse before I became a singer.”
Judd has made immeasurable progress since her last Instagram update on her health in April where she shared that while she was able to finally start sleeping through the night again, she had a long road ahead of her.
In the meantime, Judd has been occupying her time dreaming of her next adventures: Patagonia, then back to Congo to continue her mission to study the bonobos.