13 Months – Still working on this…

I’ve been back in the boot for going on two months now – off and on. I’m wearing it more now than when I first had the surgery. I have good days and bad days with my lower heal becoming sore as the day goes on if I’m out of the boot too long. More recently I’ve been having better days and I’ve been walking around my house with no or very little pain. It’s thankfully still winter and the weather is horrible so I don’t have any yardwork I can do which would only complicate my issue. I have the time to rest this and hopefully get it right. I encourage anyone reading this who is just starting out to take it EASY. Use your boot when told to use it – even if the Dr. says you can go without it from time to time – you are better off using it to take the pressure off that heel area. I’m not doing any rehab right now – only light stretching and some mobility drills to keep range of motion. I will get back to rehab when the pain is consistently gone without the boot. I have good days and bad days, but the good have been getting more frequent. In looking at the lump on my heel, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to run long distance again. Feel free to take a look at this recent video. Anyone with any advice – I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks. Good luck – be patient.

https://youtu.be/o0e3yUKYrZw

One YEAR


February 6, 2017

One year. One year ago tonight, I ruptured my achilles tendon. Here I am, back in a boot, having never fully recovered. I’m not sure if I’ll ever really recover from this and be able to do the things that I used to do. That’s frustrating and upsetting, but at this point, I just want to get to the point that I can walk and work without pain. After returning to full-duty at work on Oct 1, the pain and discomfort did not subside, but only got worse.  After working for 3 months with pain towards my heel, I scheduled an appointment on Dec 9th to see the surgeon again. They didn’t get me in until Jan. 11th . He scheduled an MRI for Jan 16th and he read the results on Jan 19th . He located a small tear in area on the back of my heel – the insertion area along with a bone bruise and inflammation. The MRI result reads, “small interstitial tears in the achilles”. He ordered me back into a boot – for “probably 3 months” and back to light duty. It was a huge blow but at the same time sort of a relief. At least I know that this pain and discomfort is not normal. He also said that it does not require surgery and it should heal on its own. I was sent back to rehab for the sole purpose of graston in that area to assist with the healing process and the scar tissue break up. My heel has a “bulb” on it, believed to be from the tear and scar tissue. It’s been two weeks now on light duty, in a boot and rehab and it does feel better. It’s not any better than it was when I went back to fully duty on Oct 1st , but the wear and tear on the job stopped and it feels better. Now, I just hope I can heal to feel somewhat normal. I believe this happened due to my more aggressive approach to therapy early on, and my therapist giving more aggressive exercises. I was doing some things only four months out I probably shouldn’t’ have been doing – like plyometrics. I believe the small tears happened back then and it was never given a chance to heal.

On my one year anniversary today, I’m upset and frustrated. I don’t know what the next year will bring and when/if I do get back to feeling normal while walking, if I will ever be able to do any sort of running again. I’m worried that with any running will come tendonitis or tearing in the heel area. After a full year off, now being 44 years old, I know my best years of athletics/road racing are behind me.  I just don’t like being forced out like this.

My advice to anyone reading this is to TAKE IT EASY the first 6 months and to set your return to a full YEAR. I was stubborn about this taking a whole year from day one. I wanted to be back to normal by 4-6months. Now I’m back in a boot at the year mark and I’m looking at not returning to normalcy for a good 3- 4 months – for a total of almost a year and a half. I’m not sure a return to normalcy is even possible.  I’m hoping I gradually start to regain the ability to push off without pain and don’t have to go back in for surgery again . Day by day.

8 and 9 months post-op

9 months out. I wish I could say that I’m back to feeling somewhat normal, but I’m not. This is the reason I haven’t posted any updates to this blog because I really don’t have any. Anytime I’ve tried to run outside, I’m finding soreness and swelling that bothers me for a day or so. Combine that with work and wearing 20-30 lbs of gear for a 12 hour shift, and I’m not able to make any progress. I’m thinking that I may have returned to full duty too soon. My work is inhibiting my recovery.

I was getting to the gym 2-3 days a week where I would stretch/walk-jog/ lift weights and do exercises for more mobility. I even started doing some harder – short sprint type runs on the indoor track at the gym. But even with that, I’ve never felt normal. I always feel that lump on my achilles that doesn’t seem to go away. More recently I went for a 3 mile run at around 7:40 pace and the next day I was sore and swollen. I followed that up with a couple days at work and I started having trouble walking. I’m back to resting it again and not doing any gym time right now until I can start walk more smoothly. I didn’t think that at 9 months I could over do it! Another odd thing is that my calf is visibly smaller on my injured side which is expected, however, it actually seems to have gotten smaller – which I don’t understand.

I’m still holding onto hope that over the next three month and into my 1 year mark that I’ll start to come around and feel better. Right now, I’m frustrated and worried that this may be it. I hope that if I keep working at it, that I’ll be able to recover to close to 100%. I’d like to see more positive results though. I have to re-focus and get back to stretching and working out consistently.

7 months Post Op


I’ve had my turn-around month finally. I guess the 6-7 month mark holds true for a lot of people. On Feb. 11th I had my surgery.  On Sept 4th, I was able to go for a solid two mile run. So, it took me just under 7 months.

S0 since August 11th, my PT was giving me more aggressive graston and I was still doing their PT without much running.   It was mostly light jogging for a minute or two.  On Aug. 20 we went to the beach for the week. I had a week without PT and a week of walking on the beach, chasing my kids in the water, walking on the boardwalk and just walking a LOT. I didn’t even attempt any running. I believe this came at the right time, because it forced me to do more than I would have done at PT and challenged me to push more than I would have for several hours rather than just the 45 minute PT session. I came back home and started running more comfortably on a treadmill during the week of August 28. On Sept 3, I jogged with the kids to the local park – we rested and played around there and then ran back for a total of 1.5 mile run on the road at about 9:30 min/mile pace. The next day I still felt good so later in the afternoon after I was well warmed up – I went out on my own for a “test”. I set out to go out a mile and come back. I was prepared to jog around 9 min pace just to get something more substantial than the 3 min treadmill runs and the jog with the kids. I felt the Achilles as I started – as I always do – as it’s so thick and tight I believe I’m always going to feel it. But as I ran it got a little better and felt looser. I found myself maintaining a low 8 min mile pace! I was happy that I was able to get down that low and it felt loose. I stopped and stretched real quick at the mile and then started back. I felt good so I pushed it a little more and was UNDER 8 min pace. I finished up strong – but no sprinting – and came in at 7:17 for the last mile! I felt awesome actually RUNNING again and relieved that I may someday be able to get back to running -somewhat – fast again. This was a HUGE breakthrough. The consistent stretching each morning and the normal process of walking throughout the day has helped but I believe the biggest factor in this was also just TIME. Patience is key – which I have very little of – so this whole process has been hard for me to deal with. Since that awesome afternoon of September 4th , I haven’t repeated the two mile “record run”, because I don’t want to push it. I’m going to the gym more consistently, and I’ve run 1-2 miles on the treadmill when I do, but they are easy jog/runs. I’m still very tight and sore in the morning and if I sit too long, I can’t move right away without stretching it out some. I still have a long way to go, but I believe it’s possible. I’m done with going to PT and was cleared but I’d like to seek out someone with more knowledge in the recovery from this injury and get some treatment/advice from them. I’m just relieved at this point because I believe this is healing correctly and that I just need to do what I’m doing. Light running – stretching and basic core/exercise at the gym. Time seems to be the biggest factor.  I believe that I did too much, too early and I paid the price.  My tendon is much thicker than the other side - which is normal but mine is a lot bigger.  The surgeon says that is because I was probably stressing it too early and a lot of scar tissue formed.  My biggest bit of advice to anyone who just gets their cast off is to NOT walk or put pressure on it if you are not told by the Dr. to do so.  Wear the boot!  I still have a long road ahead, but I hope that by the time I get to my year mark that I’ll be as close to normal as I can be.

6 MONTHS - Post Surgery


Aug. 11th, 2016 -  It’s now 6 months to the day that I had surgery to repair my torn Achilles tendon. It’s been a long stretch, filled with ups and downs and I’m still working on returning to “normal”. I wouldn’t wish this injury on anyone, however the experience is unique and one that makes you appreciate the everyday things we take for granted. My family, friends and co-workers all have helped me out in many different ways and I’m extremely appreciative, thankful and very lucky!

The road to recovery continues as I pass this 6 month milestone with a bit of anxiety about the future of my ability to do what I used to do.   I started jogging again and I’m still not comfortable - but not as painful as I was two months ago. The PTs opinion is that it’s scar tissue at the heel and maybe some tendinitis. I’m basically safe to push through this pain a bit. I hope she is right. I’m very worried that they had me doing too much early on and scar tissue has formed that will never go away on my heel. My heel is still HUGE and I don’t know how it’s every going to go down. I worry this will always bother me. The plan is that graston will make it gradually subside and the pain/discomfort will go away with it. We will see.

I still wear my boot every night and I stretch every morning.  I’m also incorporating some over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs once a day.  I’m jogging - only at PT- for about 2 mins at a time and walking in between for overall time on treadmill at 15-20mins.  I also go to the gym maybe once a week.  I’d go more but I’ve been worried I’m on my feet too much and causing more problems.  I pulled back on my own workouts and now I just stretch on my non-PT days.  It’s unreal that a half year has gone by and I still am very limited.  I’m looking forward to running outside soon - well, jogging outside soon.  No ‘real’ running for quite awhile it would seem.

Week 25 Post Op - Starting to see some Daylight

August 1st – 6th – 25 Weeks

Back with my PT - she believes my pain maybe bursitis or some other tendonitis. The calf and achilles seem strong. I actually did 10 unassisted heel raises. Dr. visit on Wednes will confirm. She recommended taking over the counter ibuprofen or some other anti-inflammatory to help. I’ve taken nothing this entire time. I still have good days and bad days. I’m more positive and happy that its most likely tendinitis and not something wrong with the achilles healing. The next day, I took two aleve and several hours later, my foot had very little pain! I actually felt like I could run – but didn’t. DR visit on the following day – Dr. Rick said the tendon and calf look strong and no problems there. He did say that it looks like it healed "thicker" than usual but that shouldn’t be a problem. He blamed that on "doing too much" but I don’t believe I’ve been doing anything out of the ordinary - that anyone else wouldn’t do. He also believes it to be tendinitis and to rest, take anti-inflammatory and gradually work back up. He said graston would be good to continue to break down scar tissue. Once I get past this tendinitis, I can get back to running.

I went to the gym the next day and did a stretching routine and my normal lifting routine. My heel and ankle were sore the following day – but not as bad as it has been. Still taking some Aleve and that seems to help. I start back at PT on Aug 8th . The 6 month mark is approaching. Anyone with any opinion or thoughts on "healing thicker" than normal - I’d like to hear them.  Thanks.

24 Weeks Post Op - Still Can’t Run!

I’m still in limbo here.  Almost 6 months in and still unable to run.  I’ve been stretching more, and as of last week I started feeling less pain pushing off throughout the day. Stretching seems to temporarily help. On Sunday July 24, I was panicking throughout the night as I’ve been reading about people who didn’t heal correctly - their tendon was overstretched early - in the first month - and it healed longer than it should have. They have ankle pain and can’t push off correctly. The tendon doesn’t have a strong connection to the calf and the calf muscle does not work as it should. The only resolution is to have surgery and start over. I can’t imagine that!!!! As I tested out my ability to push off, I find that I have pain pushing off, but I can stand on my toes with that foot – with no pain - which to me means it’s strong. I may have some sort of tendonitis in my ankle - which is where the pain is - from all of my activity. My Dr visit is next week and I will ask him about this. If I have to start over, I may just go insane. I had a decent PT session on Monday July 25 - still no running, but once I stretched my plantar and calf I felt no pain pushing off on my walk. The next two days, however, I was sore and I had to cut the walk short my next PT session due to the ankle pain creeping back. I’m not doing anything other than stretching until next week. I see my regular PT for the first time in over two weeks (she was on vacation) then the Dr on Wednesday. This is beyond frustrating and I do have some concerns it’s not healing right. I’ll post a video as well so if anyone has any feedback, I’d appreciate it. I’d also like to thank everyone for the feedback thus far.

https://youtu.be/Jcbyj0OUSPI


22/23 WEEKS – July 21st

I’m at 5 ½ months. I really thought I’d be farther along than I am, given my research on how others have progressed, but I guess everyone is different. I came back to PT a week after my bad news from my surgeon and spoke to my PT. She felt like the Dr. was being overly cautious but we would start back walking and progress into running. She then told me that she was going away for vacation for two weeks and I was going to work with other PTs. GREAT! I was not motivated. I came back to PT the following week and went through the motions. The other PTs did nothing more than ask me how I was doing. I’m quite honestly tired of telling people that my heel hurts when I walk, so my response now is, “I’m fine”. Some days are better than others, but everyday it aches when I walk – so forget about running. I even stopped going to the gym on my own – up until this week. I had two good gym sessions lifting weights and swimming so that’s helped motivation, but the pain has mostly still remained so I’m completely unmotivated to go to therapy.  The PTs there offer no benefit to me at this point. What would help me out is if the PTs would help stretch me out and massage my calf prior to walking/running. I think that should be a part of my routine, but I’m sure not going to ask them to do it. And because I’m not Kobe Bryant I’m sure they won’t do it!! I’ve focused more (on my own) on stretching out my plantar and my calf/ hamstring in hopes to reduce the stress on my heel. I believe this is helping. If not for today, this post would be mostly negative. Today – I actually felt better. Not great, but I had moments where I could walk without any pain. I hope this progresses and I can start to jog again. I still have no desire to go back to PT. I can do all of what I do there on my own and more so come my next visit in two weeks I’ll probably ask to phase out PT. Right now, I’m still slightly swollen at night and I still use the cold ankle compress. I hope the next couple of weeks bring me some results. Thanks for those of you who asked about my progress.


20-21 weeks Post Op

Stalled out –

7/5/16 - I haven’t been seeing much progress this past month. I have my monthly visit with the surgeon and I have little news to report to him. I’m doing the same amount of running I was the last time I saw him. Told my PT  I’m frustrated with my progress - or lack of. We are going to try to do a little more w/ running farther and get cleared to run outside / off treadmill. I am approaching the 5 month mark so I should be able to do more. I told her that I’m worried about doing too much again and I don’t want to extend this recovery any longer than it has to be. I’m worried about the discomfort and pain I feel before and after working out. She believes I’m unnecessarily holding back due to my discomfort and that it’s only just that: discomfort. I told her that I have NO problem pushing through any pain – but I need to be sure that it’s not going to cause me to go backwards. I’m ready to push forward and do more, so hopefully that in turn will break me through this wall. I’m still sore in the AM and PM and I’m icing it every night and keeping it up for about 20-30 mins. It still looks swollen and it’s not pretty! I’ll report on the DR visit.

7/6/16 -Dr. visit:  The surgeon has a different take – pull back. He looked over my Achilles and told me it’s too swollen and I must be doing too much. No more running until it looks better. WTF!! This is really frustrating now. Now, I don’t want to do anything. The PT routine got old two months ago and I was going with the motivation of getting better. Now he’s telling me that I have to go back to what I was doing over a month ago? I cancelled my PT for the rest of the week and I haven’t re-scheduled for next week yet. I need a mental break (and apparently a physical one too!!) from the monotony of PT – The physical therapy that seems to only be hurting me - ?!

My PT and surgeon are clearly not on the same page with me. I’ll talk to my PT next week and go from there. VERY frustrated.

New video:  https://youtu.be/EGbv20TXWFw

Week 18-19

I hit week 19 tomorrow.  I’ve hit a bit of a setback in that I overdid it a little last week and I’m paying the price this week.  I’ve been really sore around the calcaneus bone.  It was painful enough that I’ve been holding back the last 5 days from PT or any significant exercises.   I had a hard PT session last Friday and a work event that night which kept me on my feet and walking a bit.  The next day I couldn’t walk normally and that pain extended into Monday-Tuesday.  I stopped my PT for a few days.  I felt much better today and hope to continue on where I left off.  I’m starting each session with about 20-25mins of walking and jogging - up to 6.5 mph.  I don’t run more than 4-5mins straight though.  My therapist started me on plyometrics and has been adding new exercises each week.  I started doing "truck tire bounds" where I stand on one foot and leap to the next foot as if jumping into a truck tire.  That is challenging with a recovering achilles!  My PT told me that I don’t need any massage or graston any longer - which I was surprised to hear.  I’m still thick and swollen in that area so I was hoping to continue on with that.  She told me that she would do it as needed.  I wish I could say that I feel great - but I don’t.  Even prior to this weeks setback with pain, I always have discomfort in that area.  I wake up limping and I go to bed limping.  I find my normal stride throughout the day, but I can still always feel it.  I keep waiting to break through this wall and feel somewhat normal, but I guess it’s going to take awhile longer for me.  My visits to the gym on my non-pt days are less frequent due to the yardwork I need to get done.  I am showing slight improvement in my ability to do more exercises and jog a little faster each week so I can’t complain.  Progress is steady and slow - but I still have progress.   No videos for me as I don’t have much different to show at this point.