My Story

Hello, my name is Brian and I am a 42 year old lover of outdoor adventure. I enjoy hiking, biking, running, and a variety of sports, including but not limited to skiing, basketball, volleyball, football, and tennis. I exercise 4-5 times per week and my routine consists of a self-discovered combination of weight-lifting, cardio, P90X, crossfit, and yoga. Despite being reasonably fit and capable, I’m far from being a true athlete, though I’m certainly above the average activity level of my peers….

I ruptured my Achilles on June 6th playing kickball in league play! It was a double-header and it occurred early in the second game, as I was running toward first base, following a good kick. About the third or fourth step, I heard it “pop” and thought that someone threw a 90mph fastball into my calf, and it lodged in there! While enroute to the base, I looked down and saw nothing only to experience the inability to run anymore, but somehow managed to fall onto my base and roll. In agony, I crawled off the field to the dismay of both mine and the opposing teams. The pain lasted for a good 15 minutes, and then just tenderness. I had another player take my spot and cheered the team on from the sidelines, then limped to my car afterwards. That night, I attempted the “tough-guy” routine and tried to sleep it off, hoping I just strained my calf with all the swelling associated with my limb and ankle. When I woke, there was no change and I got a ride to the ER only to confirm my suspicions of a tendon tear!

Surgery was performed on June 11th and I wore a partial cast for 17 days, with instructions to elevate, take meds, and no weight-bearing. The meds and the elevating lasted about 5 days only and soon I was crutching around quite well. I realized that I cannot sit still very well, and actually went on a 3/4 mile crutch with my niece! On June 28th, I got the stitches out and was fitted for the “boot”, which I currently still wear. Instructions were to still avoid weight-bearing, elevate as needed, and don’t get site wet. I bought waterproof tape and cover my unbooted leg while in the shower, and I placed a lawn chair in there to sit on. I still crutch around and even drive my car when needed. During this process, I’ve noticed muscle atrophy in my calf, and tenderness/tightness in my ankle, likely due to non-use! It’s funny, that while my tendon heals, my entire leg is weakening, and I understand the need for rehab. In my own time, I have actually wiggled my toes and moved my ankle around somewhat, even performing some light weight-bearing, plantar flexion, and upper-body exercises. The tendon feels tight, but not sore! Still, I maintain minimal movements that don’t produce aggravated swelling, although none are encouraged at this time. I’m on my last removable wedge to slowly stretch the tendon, and this last one will certainly be felt! The next visit is Wednesday, June 24 and I will know more about my progress and the start of rehab…

My hope is to be back to normal or better, and skiing in January. However, I have to recognize and be prepared that this may not occur! My rehab progress and return of strength will determine all my hopes as I look forward to physical therapy with both trepidation and excitement!

12 Responses to “My Story”

  1. Sorry you’ve joined this elite group bhinch but - welcome! This site has been a life-saver for me and I’m sure you’ll become a regular visitor too. sounds as though you’re handling the injury well. The vision of you sitting on a lawn chair in the shower made me smile. Good idea! Most of us had one of those medical stools which just looked so ‘medical’. The most frustrating part of the recovery, in my opinion, is the slow progress required. However, every milestone is a reason to cheer and you, at least, can drive. With your determination and enthusiasm, I bet you will be skiing in January…… or February ….. Good luck in rehab!

  2. Thank you, loumare747! One can never get enough encouragement….

  3. Welcome! Sorry to hear about your injury. It takes quite a few of us by surprise. Sounds like you are well on the road to recovery. I didn’t get my last wedge removed until week 8. Looking forward to reading about your PT and progress.

  4. Welcome to the club! Sorry to have to say that, but sounds like you’re doing pretty well. Keep it up and good luck in Rehab, mine’s been great so far.

  5. Great attitude Brian. That will certainly contribute to your own maximum recovery.

    What plantar flexion exercises are you doing? Are these with the guidance of doc or PT or your own intitiative?

  6. Brian, I was skiing (a week in Whistler) at week 17 post-ATR without surgery, so if you’re not skiing by January, your Doc is holding you way far back. I followed the protocol, which has produced (& published) excellent clinical results both with and without surgery. I generally suggest that ATR patients present that protocol and its excellent results (full-text on this very website) to their doctors, especially if they’re being treated more slowly, as you seem to be.
    There may finally be a study documenting better results than UWO’s, but they went even faster. I don’t think there’s any evidence-based justification to go slower.

  7. Hi Brian…… My injury was just a week or so behind you. This site may end up as your new best friend. Everyone is so helpful not only commiserating with what your going thru, but also provider good feedback on expectations. I initially was very concerned about when I could return to my pre-injury activity level.

    I’m over that. My biggest focus now is all about progress and to keep moving forward. Maintaining a healthy attitude during treatment and transitioning from one phase to the next is not easy.

    I went non-op. I had a cast for 3 weeks (2 weeks after injury), just got an aircast for 3 weeks (hopefully) and should go 2 shoes after that (if I make it in this aircast boot). I’m single, and although always active, I never injured myself before this. So this incident has caused some hysteria for me so I’m very grateful for the people on this site who are absolutely terrific.

    Good luck to you! Happy Healing!

  8. [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    Can someone explain what this means?

  9. Thanks for the welcome!
    I am 6-weeks post-op Tuesday, July 22nd, and I will get last wedge out July 26th, which will be 6.5 weeks…

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  10. Thanks!
    Not a club we wanted to belong to, for sure…

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  11. Thank You!
    I will look into that protocol…

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  12. Thank You!
    I was told by my doctor that both non-op and operative options worked well, but that operative likely returned the athlete back to original form with less re-rupture incidence, so I chose that. I asked him point blank which one will get me skiing sooner, and he clearly suggested surgery.
    Certainly a healthy attitude is crucial to surviving this…

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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