I am obsessed with walking since I had been deprived of it for a while. What a simple joy of life!
I still feel improvements in my foot 2 years later. I had a lot of discomfort in the sole of my foot, that is now pretty much gone, and the tendon feels a bit thinner. Now I actually can forget about the injury and walk as if nothing happened.
In running shoes I enjoy long walks and had a wonderful hiking vacation in the Rockies including the 18 Km trek to beautiful Crypt Lake. No problem but the steep slopes are a challenge: my calf muscle is still significantly weaker that the other one.
The recovery from this injury, especially for those with complications is a long one - but not a hopeless one.
May take lots of tears and patience. And time.
after surgery was great.
What a gorgeous sunny summer it was! I enjoyed every minute of it basking on the sun, walking, hiking, swimming. I feel so alive again. ( I spent 22 weeks in cast/boot last year) I am swimming regularly twice a week and find it very helpful. Managed to shave off 4 pounds, so I am actually lighter than before the accident!
As for the progress: my injured calf is still 2 cms skinnier, but there is a good shapely hard little muscle there that helped me climb a 10K trail at Lake Superior, no problem just general fatigue. Finally I do not fret if I lose balance and have to step back unexpectedly.
The stiffness is still there for the first few steps in the morning, and it seems I lost flexibility in that ankle for good, so I am no fan of going down stairs anymore. But I feel 100% comfortable doing my daily activities. Perhaps I am more choosy with my shoes: I do appreciate padded soles.
I wish you the same joy in the near future!
Recently I have been making up for all those months being stuck on the couch last year with some nice little vacation. The “cross training” of swimming, walking and core strength type fitness classes have paid off: I manged well on my feet on the sandy beaches, pebbles and coral reefs. The past 2-3 months I feel comfortable with my balance and walking normally again. No pain or swelling at the ankles. Slowly the muscle is taking shape again, the soleus seems quite slower though than the gastrocnemius to come back. It is an exeptionally beautiful and warm spring here in Ontario (Canada) so I am working hard in my garden, digging and planting, too. Cheers!
It has been one year since my original ATR while jumping around BAREFOOT in the gym.
First I got conservative treatment, however after the re-rupture not quite 8 months ago I opted for surgery.
The good news is that the past month I became comfortable on my feet, I do not worry about tripping or slipping anymore. I can jump, jog a bit, not too well, but I have never been a runner. I am able to walk fast and swim as well as before. I am attending and enjoying my regular (low impact) fitness classes at the Y. I reached my goal of resuming my 7 km week-end walks.
The disappointment is that I still can not forget about my injury.
I lost the original (very good) flexibility of my foot in the dorsiflexion. That makes squatting down, leaning forward a bit awkward. I get cracking in my forefoot when doing heel lifts or strong movements, which I never did before the surgery. I still get stiff if I sit for a while and have to stretch a little or I limp the first few steps.
What bothers me most is the pain in the front of my foot - not in the heel! - if I walk too much. (more than 2 hours) So while the surgery fixed up a lot of issues, it messed up some other parts a bit.
The nearly 6 months total of immobilization weakened the calf significantly. Though I can do heel lifts my injured calf is still 3 cms skinnier than the other one. I try to work on that but it is hard to keep motivated after so many months.
It is kind of annoying that with all this time spent immobilized I got in the habit of using mostly my good leg, putting more weight on it sparing the injured one when I have to get up from the floor etc. And with all this merciful treatment my injured calf got lazy and does not want to engage. Sometimes I feel like I have to do a few heel lifts to wake it up.
I find certain issues are taken care of if we just give our body some time. I see how eager everybody is to get back to normal as soon as possible, and it gets quite frustrating for most. Unfortunately it seems this injury does take a year of recovery. I am still optimistic that by July, that will be the anniversary of my surgery, my calf will be stronger.
So I wish you all lots of patience and determination for your recovery.
all you need to know about ATR:
“about 25% of Achilles tendon ruptures are missed during the patient’s first visit…. if swelling is present, it can obliterate any palpable defect. The physician may incorrectly diagnose a “partial tear” if the patient can still plantarflex his ankle. This paradox is due to the functional flexor hallucis longus, flexor digitorum longus, posterior tibial, and peroneal tendons. These pitfalls can be avoided by using a few simple tests. First, the patient should be instructed to perform repetitive heel rises.”
Feel like total basket case…. few days ago I tried some walking lunges amongst my exercises. I did not feel anything special right then, but few hours later I developed a pain in my GOOD calf, and it does not want to go away. Especially impossible to walk down the stairs with my GOOD leg, I get a terrible sharp spasm in the calf. So I am limping again - on my other leg!
I celebrated the 6 months benchmark with some hopping on 2 feet forward and back at the PT today. Feels strange after 10 months (since the original injury) but good. No pain. However I will not beat any records any time soon.
Also I did 10 minutes of single calf raises ( 10 sec up - 10 sec rest) with muscle stim. (They love to torture me! ) I still have a long way to go with calf strength.
I tried running ( if we can call this slow hobbling that) also for the first time. Certainly felt weird. My muscles forgot what jogging is like. First they did not want to obey. We have a 90 meter track at the Y, nice padded one, so (after warming up!) I walked a lap, then tried to jog, then walked another etc. in the end I managed to slow jog a whole lap. My tendon did not hurt at all, (it is somewhat tired by the evening) the most disturbing is that I still get pain around the ball of my foot when I work out or walk too much.
I feel less and less tired by the end of the day and can do all my regular activities. So all in all things are looking up.
Here is the latest pick:
So at 24 weeks post op I managed to reach one of my goals: being able to do my regular walk from home to the harbour and back (about 7 km) at normal speed, without break, without complaints from my foot.
This was the best Christmas present I could get. (And the waves were gorgeous.)
Wish you all a Merry Christmas and similar happy events of recovery in the coming year.
Lots of you seem to wonder what ultrasound treatment is good for, as part of PT.
This is what I found:
“During the remodelling phase of repair, the somewhat generic scar that is produced in the initial stages is refined such that it adopts functional characteristics of the tissue that it is repairing. A scar in ligament will not ‘become’ ligament, but will behave more like a ligamentous tissue. This is achieved by a number of processes, but mainly related to the orientation of the collagen fibres in the developing scar… The remodelling process is certainly not a short duration phase – research has shown that it can last for a year or more – yet it is an essential component of quality repair… The application of therapeutic ultrasound can influence the remodelling of the scar tissue in that it appears to be capable of enhancing the appropriate orientation of the newly formed collagen fibres and also to the collagen profile change from mainly Type III to a more dominant Type I construction, thus increasing tensile strength and enhancing scar mobility…”
Today marks 22 weeks since the surgery, 40 weeks since the original ATR. Long time, lots of changes, different emotions. From the anger (why did it happen to me?), the depression, the hope, the frustration (not healing), being scared (will I ever walk again normally??), the re-rupture, the resignation, and hope again, I am at the stage of being pretty optimistic now.
I managed to put some spring in my steps, can walk without a limp. I am able to do my daily tasks, walk around for hours in the stores, but I have my limits. If I overdo it I get sore. Xmas shopping is a definite no-no. But It does not swell up, so I abuse it sometimes. I can walk at a fast speed for about 45 minutes, then I need a break. So to the outsiders, I look healed.
The PT however sees lots of work ahead. I am still going twice a week, and work out at home daily. I am able to do single leg calf raises, maybe 20, but they are very difficult, and I can raise my heel maybe 2/3 of the way only. So most I do are still double leg raises, different variations on it, at the physio I do it with muscle stimulation for 10-15 minutes. I think my calf strength is still only half of the good one. The calf is getting some definite muscle tone and grew maybe one cm, but there is still another 2 to go.
I have been going swimming (and enjoying it) these past couple of weeks and started to go to the fitness classes again. Mostly core strength classes though. But the simple low impact fitness classes help me to get my confidence back, improve my balance, as they push me outside my comfort zone, trying to keep up with the pace of the music doing the V steps and grapewines… (for those who have dancing feet some salsa steps are great fun, too!) I am no big fan of the gym equipment, use the bike to warm up and get a bit of cardio work and the leg press, but I find the exercises on the floor more useful. I was given exercises on the Bosu ball (that is a soft dome shaped thing) doing squats on it, balancing on one leg and lunges. Great challenge! I am able to do lunges on the on both legs now, and have a good balance picking up objects from the floor on one leg. But the only really good workout for the calves seems to be the heel raises. I am told to do as many as I can, and to motivate myself to keep a tab on it. Holding myself up for 10 seconds and going down nice and slow. However I did the math… The optimal way of doing it would allow me to do about 2 per minute, so if my PT wants me to do about 100 three times a day: that would take me nearly 3 hours ???? Of course that is not happening. But we have to keep trying.
Good luck everyone.
voila the Bosu ball