arielvit’s AchillesBlog

July 18th, 2013

56 Weeks: hitting back

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

I did it! I’ve mustered enough courage to play tennis again, after a year from surgery. I felt I not only had a scar on my leg but also in my mind as I walk -run to the tennis courts. My mind was debating: ” why do you have to play tennis again? aren’t you happy that you can run and cycle again?”.  But as I got close enough to the courts, my friends saw me and I knew there was no turning back now. My friends were also aware that that was going to be my return game, so they too were excited (or apprehensive maybe).

After a few minutes of warm up rally, the game started. We played doubles. I had no problem on my strokes. But on the first time I got a return shot that was too wide from me,  I started to chase it but then I froze after  2 steps - my mind was not sure I should be doing that. The other guys noticed and kidded the guy who made the return shot: ” hey! you’re making him run already!” . Well, I know I could run or sprint now. So I told my mind to relax and just play. My mind didn’t really comply immediately and I kep  touching my achilles when there was a lull in the game. But eventually,  before the first set was over, I was chasing the ball and attacking the net. After the game, one of the guys said that he noticed at the start of the first set, I even had a limp which disappeared gradually towards end of the set. I did not know I was doing that  but I guess my subconscious is just really really worried about what I’m trying to do.

When I woke up this morning,  I felt my ATR leg and  it was fine. I did have some soreness at my upper leg but I expected that. After all it’s been a while these legs have seen the sudden start and stop action of tennis. In general, I felt good and I even went out for a run.

Good day Everyone!

July 13th, 2013

52 Weeks: 1st Major Recovery Goal

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

I know this is a bit of a late post now but I just want to share that I’ve done my very first Olympic Distance Triathlon last June 23rd!  1.5Km swim, 40km bike, 10Km run!  First time for me to swim that long distance in open waters. This was the 5i50 triathlon.

I did not have any problem with my ATR leg at all. I thought it was weak coming off the bike but then I guess it was just me taking care of it subconsciously; it gradually gained strength just after a few strides on the run. I did cramped up after the first 2kms on the run but it was on the front of my upper leg. I guess I over exerted the bike muscles on the hilly course. But eventually, cramps went away and I finished strong-  to my standards,  at least :)

Days after the race,  I thought about posting…and I thought about how my ATR leg has recovered so far. I should say that it has not really been 100%. I think it’s still not as springy as before. But I really have not had a chance to try it. So  I remembered something that I have to  do  again - play tennis.  I got ATR playing tennis and its been more than a year. I got so focused on my triathlon goal and tennis has not entered my mind really. So.. next week, Im  setting up to play tennis. Wish me luck  again.

But all in all, my leg is so much improved now. It may still not be as flexible as the other but I have no problem jumping and sprinting. Thoughts of re-rupture still visit me from time to time, yes it does. But so easy to shrug off now.

A lot of things of have been going on in my life now,  not everything good -sad to say. Though, it’s a good thing I have these ATR recovery goals that I have set for my self. Even though lots of things around me are falling or threathening to fall apart - the training and workouts to achieve that goal somehow helped me get through each day and keep my sanity. A lot of times, the ATR leg recovery feels like the only thing happening right in my life.

Now, I’m looking at my 2nd goal - I will  run a 42k marathon.  I’ve only done that once when I was in my 20’s.  I guess this would now be more challenging for my ATR leg compared to the triathlon. I still have to pick a race; I’m thinking about travelling maybe out of the country…

March 14th, 2013

37 Weeks: Sprint Tri Done

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

Just want to share how happy I am on finishing last Sundays Sprint Triathlon. I totally forgot about the ATR! I did not feel any discomfort from the ATR leg during and even after the event. And my performance is, I can say, already at same level prior to the injury.  During the preparation for this race, I remember feeling some weakness in my ATR leg when I was doing the ‘brick’. But I did not feel that last Sunday. I guess the leg strengthening exercises on the TRX trainer helped a lot.

But my first major goal really is the Olympic distance triathlon in June. Last Sunday’s Tri was a tune up or teaser for me.

Will keep you posted; happy healing to  everyone!

March 3rd, 2013

35 Weeks: Looking Ahead

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

It’s been a while since last post and last time I think I promised to declare my goals related to my recovery. How the leg right now is I should say not really 100% recovered yet. I still limp every time I stand up from long period of sitting down, driving,  or getting up from bed. Some circulation problem I guess. But after just several steps, the limp straightens out. I have not visited the Doctor for a long while. The last time I saw him was in Nov 2012. He got me into TRX training for further leg strengthening plus some other exercises that can help in swimming, too. I love this work-out.

The leg is definitely much better and I’ve recently been training for a sprint triathlon which is happening next weekend. I’ve done sprint tri before prior to the injury, but this time, the swim will be in open water. So there is a first there for me next weekend. Also, this tri is actually a tune up for my first post injury goal: to do a standard distance triathlon in 2013. And I’ve actually signed up for a race happening in June, which is the 5i50 Triathlon. So wish me luck for next week and in June.

My next goal is to run a marathon (42.195k) in 2014. The last time I ran a marathon was more than 20 years ago. So, for me, this is like first time; especially after this injury. Tentatively, I am looking at the Hong Kong marathon in Feb 2014.

Happy Healing!

December 23rd, 2012

25 weeks- ATR plus

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

ATR plus plantar fasciitis. That’s what it is but it’s not that bad at all.

Let me re-start with the good things first. I have been doing what the PT calls sports specific exercises. These are 11 types of drills which are mostly jumps, side steps, runs, etc.  And all the drills including the jumping over the box drill is relatively easy for me now (after 4 weeks of drills). Road biking is very good and almost back to normal. Mountain biking is still not 100% as the ATR leg still gets a little “shocked” on the trail but those 10% plus slopes are very much welcome now. I do a lot of running, about 4 times a week. Still at slower pace than normal but I’ve improved a lot on climbs. The running form is generally good at the current pace I keep according to my wife.

For the bad news, I’ve been having this sudden sharp pain at the front of the arch of my right foot ( my ATR is left). It last only for a half a second and happens at a certain toe push off. Usually happens when I’m walking -wearing slippers or flat shoes. It’s not painful when I walk first thing in the morning but the doctor said it is a case of plantar fasciitis. So I was given medicine and ointment and some stretching and strengthening exercises for the plantar.

Although it has not happened yet, I worry of the plantar pain shooting while I’m running. I actually now worry more of my right than my ATR left  :).  Despite running pain-free , I’ve decided today to give running a week of rest just to be sure the plantar does not worsen. I’ll maybe switch to more biking for now. I don’t really know how I got the plantar, either my legs are crumbling due to age or the right leg overcompensating for my ATR left has done it.

And the doctor wants me to go for some TRX training next . This was after I reported that I’m still not back to my normal running pace. But the days are just so hectic now, I still have to make an appointment with the PT.

Sitting down for long periods ( in the office or driving) still makes the ATR leg stiff and I would limp for a while. But its much easier to loosen up now. Still this can be frustrating and really make me think, sometimes, if my leg will ever be back to normal. But I tell you, a lot of times though, the leg feel so good,  I can almost forget I had ATR.

In my next post, I promise to declare my goals in terms of sports participations. Recovery may feel like 50 steps forward, 49 steps backward but its getting there slowly but surely and I need to set my sights on something along the way.

Happy Holidays!!

November 7th, 2012

18 Weeks: Back to Running

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

This morning, I did my first post-surgery one hour run! My wife joined me for the first 45 minutes and I continued on for 15 minutes more to make it my 1 -hour run milestone. Although my strides are not perfect yet, especially when the road slopes up, it was one of the greatest feeling since surgery!

During the run, I felt that the left is still weak particularly when I try to pick up the pace. It was not pushing as I wanted it to. It was also odd that I felt my good right leg seem to be getting tired sooner. So I settled down to a comfortable pace where I thought I had the best form for now.

I actually started my morning run-walks  about 3 weeks ago. First I started at 1-minute run- 1 minute walk routine. Then I made it 2-1 run-walk for about 30 to 40 minutes. I wanted to work out longer but 40 minutes is just about the max I can do in the morning before preparing to go to work. But before the run walk, my warm-up would be walking and stretching for about 10 minutes. This loosens my left ankle and takes out that morning limp.

Tomorrow, the plan is to go to the Doctor and the PT for sports specific therapy instructions.  My progress is actually delayed by about a month based on the doctor’s program as I was not able to do the treadmill sprints and trampoline exercises (I had no access).  And I still limp, particularly after sitting in the office or driving for long periods of time. The ankle turns stiff and I need to walk  a few minutes to lessen the limp.

So we’ll know what the doctor has to say tomorrow - address the limp or go to sports specific therapy.

Happy healing to everyone!

October 8th, 2012

Golf at 14 Weeks

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

I played my first post ATR golf game yesterday. It was a 9-hole golf tournament for the local  Orphanage. Next to running and cycling, golf is my favorite. And I’m very happy that I was able to muster enough courage to actually start playing again.  3 hours of of walking,  standing and hitting the ball. At the start, I was tensed and couldn’t really hit the ball well.  I was thinking too much about my injured left leg. It was frustrating and I kept touching my achilles to make sure there’s no gap yet. When I flounder a shot, the more my friends tell me that it was alright , the more it became frustrating. I didn’t want to be treated different- o silly pride!

But eventually, I loosened up after 4 holes and played well (but not enough to win) to the end. My leg didn’t fail me; didn’t get tired at all.  Looking forward to next Sunday’s golf!

October 2nd, 2012

Figuring Out the Limp

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

It’s been almost 14 weeks since surgery.  Without access to a treadmill and a trampoline, I just have to do with run -walk exercises (mostly walk). That plus the weight training and stretching exercises. Maybe this will slow down my recovery compared to what the Doctor planned ? Maybe. The treadmill and trampoline exercises are fairly aggressive…I’ve done it once in the Doctor’s clinic and I’m expected to start doing them regularly on my own now. But,  its not easy to not think about re-rupture at this stage; so it’s quite fine that there’s no treadmill or trampoline within my reach at the moment.

I’m still limping. I’ve been trying to figure out why; I guess it’s because of the weak calf muscle. My leg stiffens everytime I stand up from my desk at work. I’m almost dragging my left leg just as I stand up. It loosens up only after I’ve walked for a few minutes. It feels like the calf muscle is not contracting automatically at first. And then there’s also the tightness around the ankle. Sometimes there would be some pain which I am not sure if I just imagined or not- cause it just goes away as I walk more.

Last Sunday, for the first  time since I got injured, I spent almost 2 hours chipping and putting at the golf course. My leg felt good the whole time. I thought it will be sore in one hour. I’m thinking, next time I might try using the driver.

September 20th, 2012

Flashback

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

I just have to share this.  Two weeks after surgery, I asked the Doctor if I can do some walking workout without the air cast. He said NO. But, I told him that I’ve been walking barefoot without the aircast out of necessity- like when I have to step into the shower. And there is no pain when I do that.

Ok, the doctor said, but just short walks  within a small room.

Walking barefoot at the time, felt good especially to the sole of my left foot. It was like a massage that took out the numbness and made it feel more normal again against the floor.

After 6 weeks from surgery, I was told not to wear the air cast boot any more. This was the major milestone opening the start of  the rehab process. Slow & frustrating. I have to recognize the tiny increments in strength and flexibility to realize that recovery is taking place. Every day there is ever recurring tightness and weakness of the  calf muscle; and the fear of re-rupture is always there. I’m still going through all these even though I ran and jumped already last Tuesday night (11weeks after op) .  But I know I will get back to form.

September 20th, 2012

Running & Jumping

Posted by arielvit in Uncategorized

Last Tuesday, 2 days short of 12 weeks since surgery, I went to the Doctor for another milestone- on the treadmill! I anticipated that this would start me running again.

The doctor after examining my leg, gave instructions to a PT who then lead me to the exercise area. I warmed-up on a stationary bike for  10 minutes, then did the stretching routine. After that, I continued the bike warm-up for another 10 minutes, but, this time the resistance on the bike was set-up up much higher. I was glad I have started my mountain biking earlier, otherwise this warm-up routine would have me spent already.

Then I was asked to step on the treadmill; warmed up for 3 minutes of brisk walk. The PT noted that I still had a limp and thought that that should be corrected first before I start running. Oh no, I said that I need to do this run now otherwise it will be another 5 weeks before I can come back due to my work abroad. Reluctantly he agreed and told me that the first run or sprint was at 8 (mph or kph he was not sure). So he pushed the button and, gradually, the treadmill went to speed. I found it difficult - and felt that it was too fast and I couldn’t sustain the run. My left leg was not pushing off  in time. So we had to stop.

I asked the PT how come the expectation was so much. Can patients at this stage really run that fast already? Yes, he said - a lot of patients can  do that 30 sec sprint. What!? 30 secs only? I thought I need to run in like 2 minutes. Well, I can do 30 secs.

So,  in short, I stepped on the treadmill again and was able to perform the sprints from 8 to 12 ( mph or kph, but it feels like mph to me) settings.  I actually felt more confidence in running after doing the first set at 8. The target, I was told, is to be able to go up to 16 in 4 weeks. So I’m halfway already! I even did the 11 with treadmill inclined. The doctor even commented that I run better than I walk. So, he said, next time you walk- walk fast in order to get that limp out.

The next exercise was the trampoline. I was asked to jump forward, sidewards, backward, and around. I was literally jumping with joy!

What I’ve done tonight on the treadmill and on the trampoline I’m supposed to do every other day at home. But we don’t have those at home and I travel back to work again soon. I need other options again…but at least I can start running on the road with confidence now.

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