March 28th, 2012 · 1 Comment
Saw my doctor/surgeon today for the first time following the Achilles rupture repair nine days ago. The nurse removed the thick, thick, THICK dressing, and I was relieved to feel fresh, cool air on my leg, feet, toes, and incision. Before I looked, the nurse said, “Wow, this looks beautiful,” and told me bruising existed only around the base of the incision and swelling showed only at a minimum, if at all. Good news. The wound, to me, looks completely healed. But I’m not a doctor.
When the doctor visited he did a quick examination, squeezing my calf in a few places, and said everything was intact. The incision looked “amazing” and should continue to heal in the cast they were about to install. He said I must have been elevating the foot continuously if it looked this good. Again, good news. I have made a point to elevate my leg as much as possible; I would highly recommend it.
In two weeks the cast will come off. I will be fitted with the walking boot with wedges, or “the stiletto” as some people refer to it. One wedge removes each week for three or four weeks until my foot is 90 degrees in the boot. Then I visit the therapist, get my exercises, and begin workin’ the leg back to strength.
The timetable he gave me today differs from the one he gave me when I visited him pre-op. I expected from four to six weeks in the cast and then a long period of time with the boot. My incision has healed considerably, though, and that has changed things. I wanted a boot today, but the doc nixed it. The cast and dressing underneath allow the incision to heal more quickly than placing the foot in a boot following surgery. The cast is a precaution, according to my doctor’s Achilles-healing philosophy. Apparently, unlike many areas where surgery is conducted, Achilles repairs and the area around them may swell for weeks following surgery (this is why elevating consistently is important). If one were to place too much weight or return too soon to walking or weight bearing, then the incision could reopen on its own, exposing the tendon since virtually no fat exists between the tendon and the skin. Yes - it’s as cringing to read as it is to hear from a doctor. This is disgusting to me. But it drove the point home, and I will happily wear the cast for two weeks and continue to elevate.
Tags: Doctor's Visit
I tragically ruptured my left Achilles on March 8, 2012, playing basketball in a local men’s league championship game. I’m 26, healthy, and active. This injury came as very big surprise and as a freak accident to me. I stumbled across this website searching for others who’ve experienced the same type of injury. I am glad there’s a large support community, and I hope to join and contribute to it to help others. I aim to use this blog as an outlet to share my story, my recovery, interesting tidbits I discover about recovery and the injury, and the importance (or lack thereof) of the location of my rupture (just below the calf - I’m told by my surgeon this is an odd place to rupture and could impact my future).
After the injury, a few days passed before I accepted this wasn’t just another high ankle sprain or twisted ankle. When the injury occurred, I was shuffling lightly to gain position before play resumed, and I suddenly heard and felt the all-too-familiar “snap” or “slap,” and I turned around to confront the joker who thought it’d be funny to slap my calf right before play resumed, verbalizing an obscenity in the process. To my surprise, no one was there. I took another step, and that, as they say, is all she wrote. I felt pain rivaling a severely rolled ankle. Walking off the court, I couldn’t use my left leg, which felt as if something was missing. I had to be carried. Upon pressing on various points of my tendon on the sideline, I noticed a large gap in my Achilles.
I purchased an ankle brace from CVS and limped around for a few days. I saw a podiatrist five days after the injury. He ordered an MRI for me and placed me in a walking boot, which was rather uncomfortable and daunting. Eight days after the injury, I saw my orthopedic surgeon, who examined the MRI. He confirmed an Achilles rupture along with stating jokingly I was “another Weekend Warrior” and that “it looks like my NBA career is on hold.” (I do wonder how many one liners these doctors create and how long they have to wait until situations like these arise to say them.) The doctor examined my legs and had his resident video tape the examination because of the odd location of the injury. He discussed options with me. He stressed since I am 26, young, active, and hope to regain my athleticism, then surgery existed as the best option for a 100-percent recovery. I could, of course, neglecting surgery and place the leg in a cast for a few months and let it heal on its own. However, re-rupture with surgery is much lower than simply placing the injury in a cast for a few weeks.
Naturally, since I hope to regain my men’s league championship form one day, I chose surgery. Eleven days after the injury, the surgery occurred on a Monday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
Tags: The Injury