6 days post op: Return to Work

I am not sure this is a great milestone on the road to recovery, but I am back to work :)

5 days post op, The Prologue

Hi, all..  I am a 43 year old male.  Fairly active.  I compete in triathlons, snow board, and just loving moving at full speed.  My most favorite sport is swimming.  I could be underwater anytime and be the happiest guy on the planet.  At the moment, I am in a splint and pretty much unable to get wet so what better way to spend my extra time than babbling my story on the internet :)

I am just glad I ran into this site.  I was honestly searching for workouts I could do with one operating leg and one of this site’s posts came up.  (that might give you some insight into my level of activity and why I am bit bonkers being laid up for a bit :) )  Anyway, I really enjoyed the posts as I read deeper.  Particularly, this post about looking on the bright side, http://achillesblog.com/achilles-injury-positives/.

So, here I am..  Before we get to recovery I thought I might provide the prologue…  How did I get injured?

After I read through a bunch of “How did it happen stories”, it seems like a majority had a specific event.  I guess my event was a company kickball game on 9/4/2014.   I was kicking and when I kicked and turned to run and accelerated I felt a snap or something.  And I limped off the field.  I did the R.I.C.E. thing for a few days and then went to an orthopedic doctor that specialized in non-surgical solutions.  I honestly did not even think I would need surgery.  But I was also pretty clueless as to what my injury was and what it meant.

I had an x-ray and was diagnosed with achilles tendinitis and given an RX to start physical therapy.  Due to something that was seen on the X-Ray and unrelated to the achilles itself I was asked to get an MRI.  I started therapy at a big chain physical therapy operation.  I have to say I was not all that impressed with the program but my only request was lets get this healed and lets make sure I do not rupture the tendon.  As I progressed through 2 months of therapy I honestly felt like something more was wrong.  I was making progress but it seemed slow and my tendon seemed so weak.  the MRI said my tendon was healthy and not likely to rupture.

As I was instructed to go back to full activity, I started having more pain.  And ultimately one day when I was diving into the pool. I felt a pop.  It was pretty anti-climatic.  I swam 1800 yards and when I got out of the pool I was limping pretty bad but honestly not in much pain.  I went and saw my doctor again. He turned a bit white in the face and quickly put me on the table and performed the simple test for a rupture.  And sure enough, I had partially ruptured my AT.  I was sent for another MRI.  This time the MRI told a completely different story. My tendon was a mess and I need to see an orthopedic surgeon.

After research I felt like I’d be a great candidate for either a non-surgical option or the rather low invasive tendon surgery.   I was referred to a great specialist.  We sat together and ran through my MRI.  He did some examination.  He turned to me and said, “Those are great options for some people.  In your case not so much”.  I was going to sign up for a Secondary Achilles Reconstruction with a turndown graft.  As an added bonus I would have a transfer of the FHL Tendon.

As we talked more about how the tendon works and how it gets damaged, it become clear to me that no one event triggered my tendon to fail, but really a lifetime of pushing my body hard.  My injury can be traced back to the late 90s when I was still doing step pretty hardcore.  My AT bulged back then and I nursed it back to health myself.  I have had other incidents when road biking or snow boarding.  Ultimately, I feel like I tried the non-surgical route for about 18 years and my time had run out.

I was nervous as heck going into the surgery and what recovery would looked like..  but more about that another post..