A blog about my recovery from a ruptured Achilles.

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21 week update - discharged by PT and OS

I met with my OS earlier this week and he officially gave me the green light to return to running (I have been building up my mileage over the past 5 weeks).  He had me walk on my tip toes and was impressed with the height of my injured leg.  I have no problems with doing single leg calf raises - not sure of how many I can do but can do 20+ without any issues (though my injured leg doesn’t get quite as high as my other leg).  I’m allowed to do pretty much anything I want, even CrossFit (with modifications).  I don’t plan to return to CF until March (9 months) because I really don’t trust myself to not push myself too soon (my injury is a result of doing double unders).  For now, I have been increasing my jogging miles - I can jog upwards of 4 miles a day, 3X a week (at this point, it isn’t my Achilles that makes it hard but my lack of cardio conditioning).  The other days are weight lifting days -  full body.  I haven’t had any pain or discomfort in my Achilles and have not noticed any swelling, but I don’t want to increase the miles too much and want a day of rest between runs.  My pace is REALLY slow but I’m ok with that.  I still have stiffness in the morning and if I sit still for a long time but other than that, my Achilles hasn’t been an issue for me.  I’m so happy to have my PT behind me, as well as no longer having to trek over to see my OS - I almost feel normal now!  ; )

3 months post-op

Met with my OS today and he was very pleased with my progress.  He had me walk and then demonstrate a double heal calf raise and then had me try a single leg calf raise.  I had no idea I could do a single calf raise!  I was happy with that - I had been too scared to try but have been doing doubles during PT over the past couple of weeks.  He said that I need to keep working on strengthening my calves and Achilles and I should attempt light jogging (on the treadmill) within the next 4-6 weeks.  What he didn’t want me to do is try to do too much too soon.  Just because I am walking and appear to look normal on the outside (no limp), doesn’t mean I am ok to jump and run.

I graduated to the elliptical about two weeks ago (after riding the stationary bike for weeks) and have been walking a lot outside (3 miles a day with my dog), as well as lifting weights.  Upper body workouts haven’t been an issue since day one.  Lower body exercises have consisted of the following:  straight leg deadlifts (with weights), body weight lunges and squats, seated leg extensions (with weights), seated hamstring curls (with weights), calf raises (both seated and standing) as well as abdominal exercises.

I feel like I am slowly getting back into my daily routine and with the exception of running and back to doing CF - I’m pretty much feeling normal even though I am no where near 100% healed.

Two Shoes with Pictures

I’ve been practicing wearing my new sneakers inside my house since Wednesday (exactly 7 weeks post-op) and everything is going well so far. When I go outside, I put my boot on and my Evenups. I have been focusing on walking slowly and trying my best not to walk like a duck (hard to do since I’ve always walked with my feet pointed a little outward). I have a limp but it isn’t as pronounced as it is when I am wearing my boot. My boot really constricts my movement and makes it harder to walk smoothly. No pain or discomfort at all. My eight week post-op appointment is next Wednesday - I am supposed to officially go to two shoes then which will be a few days before I leave for my cruise for Bermuda.  I can’t wait!  Though I will be bringing a cane and my boot with me since I am extremely nervous of walking without the boot for extended periods of time - rather be a little on the cautious side for now.

The pictures - my scar is less than 3 inches long and healing nicely.  My calves seem to be appear to be almost the same size now.  My left has always been a little larger than my right but after my injury, it shrunk quite a bit, along with my right since I spent a lot of time off both feet.  My injured Achilles is much thicker than my original like I’ve seen on many others.  Not a fan of that as it makes me look like I have cankles so I am hoping it eventually thins out in time.

Cast off and first PT session!

Aaack!  I somehow deleted this old post!!

Post-op scar and cast photos

StitchesHere is a picture of my scar up close - took it at a weird angle during my first post-op appointment.  Forgot to take a picture after the stitches were removed (day 8).  It didn’t look so bad once he removed the stitches.  I hate all the purple marks from where he marked my leg and can’t wait to wash it off.

Here is a picture of my hot pink cast - believe it or not, I’ve actually received a lot of compliments of the choice of color by both men and women.  Might as well have some enjoyment out of this.

Thank you all who have helped me by providing directions on how to post my photos.  I still don’t have the hang of it as I have no idea how I was successful this time around and most likely won’t be able to do it again in a future post.

First Post Op - 8 days later

Had my first Post-Op appointment 8 days after surgery (July 3).  I had my splint/cast removed, along with my stitches.  The stitches were hideous!  Uggh, was hoping somehow my OS moonlighted as a Plastic Surgeon but no such luck.  At least my stitches weren’t too far up my ankle and into my calf.  I would show a picture but I can’t figure out how to insert a picture.  I followed the directions posted by Booklady to no avail.

Once my stitches and splint were removed, I was placed into a cast.  I really tried to talk my OS into giving me a boot or at least a new splint but I was not successful.  I am stuck in my cast for three weeks before being able to “upgrade” to the boot!  The positive is that I was given a choice of color for my cast and I chose hot pink.  So bright - might as flaunt it!

I am approaching my fourth week being on crutches (day one being the initial rupture) and it sucks more than anything.  My friend showed me a photo of a knee scooter and though I was tempted, I decided against it.  Instead I bought an iwalk2.0.  The idea of walking around my house hands free really appealed to me.  I’ve been able to put dishes away, prepare and cook meals, do laundry and a bunch of other chores (though not all at once since my leg starts swelling if I spend too much away from elevating it).  Though it is far from perfect, it is such a better alternative from traditional crutches.  I have yet to wear it out in public but hope to get the nerve to try it out once I feel more comfortable.

Double Unders

I was in San Diego for a long Girls’ Weekend Getaway with a bunch of my friends from high school when I ruptured my Achilles (June 13th - Friday the 13th, no less).  Being from the east coast, I was up by 5 in the morning and out running and doing bleacher runs by 6 in the morning with one of my friends.  I then came back into our condo and cooled down and took a shower.  After my shower, I was talking to my friend about what a great workout jump roping is (she hates running) and I grabbed my jumprope (I always travel with it) and showed her how double unders (two rotations of the rope in a single jump) could get her a much higher cardio workout than just regular jump roping.  Needless to say, I was barefoot and after two jumps, I heard and felt a “pop” to the back of my ankle.  I was convinced I had hit the back of my leg against a coffee table and looked behind and nothing was behind me.  I immediately sat on the couch and two of my friends came over to see why I was withering in pain and they both immediately saw the indentation behind my ankle and concluded that I had injured my Achilles (they are both nurses).  What?  OMG - what does that mean?  How long will it take for me to recover?  I had no idea what I was supposed to do so I immediately called my husband (while my friends had me elevate my leg and brought me some ice) to see if he could look up the nearest Urgent Care clinic for me that accepts our insurance.  We found one about 5 miles away and I called them to see if they could A) see me right away and B) able to provide me with treatment (crutches/boot).

I went in to see them and only had to wait about 15 minutes or so after filling out paperwork and the doctor had me on my stomach and started to squeeze my calves - I explained to her that my calves weren’t in any pain, that it was above my heel that hurt and she proceeded to explained that my toes should be moving when pressure is made on the calf.  She explained this was called  the Thompson Test.  No movement - she confirmed I ruptured my Achilles.  She wanted to check if she could have an MRI performed but wasn’t sure if she would be able to squeeze me in today and if not, I would need to get an MRI on Monday.  I explained  to her that I was on vacation and that I would be back in Boston on Monday and that I would just wait to consult with my GP on my return.  She was concerned about possible blood clots from flying and had me buy some aspirin and compression socks to help mitigate the risks.

I met with my Ortho on Wednesday or Thursday of my return (18th or 19th - can’t recall).  He gave me two options - surgery or non-surgery and since I had already done my research ahead of time, I went the surgical route.  We then scheduled my surgery for the following Wednesday (25th) which was 12 days after my rupture.

Surgery was an outpatient procedure and everything went fine.  I arrived around 9:15 and my surgery was scheduled for 11:45.  I was hooked up to an IV and I read a book for a brief while and eventually fell asleep from boredom while waiting.  Around 11:45, they wheeled me to the OR and it was indeed chilly in there.  I was given warm blankets - Ahhh, so comfy and cozy!  It actually felt nice.  The had me loosen my hospital gown (I had made knots to secure them, not knowing they were  going to loosen them for surgery.  I was doing my best to keep myself covered and save me some embarrassment from them seeing my backside, as well as preserving their eyes from looking at said backside).  Needless to say, they gave me something in my IV that made me pass out almost immediately because the next thing I knew, I was woken up in the Recover Room (so much for modesty).

I was in a lot of pain and they gave me meds through my IV and I felt better after a while.  Once they felt that my pain level was at a manageable level, they wheeled me back to my little curtained off room that I initially started in.  I fell back asleep and though they originally told me that I should be ok to go home a couple of hours after surgery - I wasn’t in a rush.  I woke up around 3:00 when my husband came in to pick me up (guess I forgot to call or text him to tell him to just stay at work until I was ready).  He just hung around until I was felt ready to leave which wasn’t until 7:00.  I was feeling nauseous for quite some time and just wanted to sleep!

We stopped by the pharmacy on my way home to pick up aspirin (to reduce risk of blood clots) and my prescription pain medicine (Oxycodone).  The Oxy on its own did nothing for me - only lasted about two hours before I would need to take them again.  Through trial and error, I found that alternating between Ibuprofen and Tylenol within two hours of taking the Oxy allowed me to go six hours before needing to take more Oxy (I was very concerned about becoming addicted since I heard that it was highly addictive).  After four days, I no longer had the need to take pain meds and stopped altogether.  I stayed in bed for almost 5 days.  My kids and dog were in NH with their grandparents so I had no worries other than getting up to use the bathroom.

Every morning, my husband would carry my pillows, computer and meds downstairs to the living room and I would set up “camp” for the day.  I had everything within my reach - phone, computer, drink, meds, remotes, pillows and drink.  He worked from home for two days to make sure I was ok.  I watched a lot of TV (Netflix) and managed to sleep quite a bit too.  It really wasn’t too bad at all. I didn’t have to worry about doing laundry, cleaning the house, taking care of the kids and dog, cooking or anything!  Wow - I can’t remember the last time that I had no one to worry about but myself with me being at home!

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