March to May 2015 - From Moderate Tear to Complete Rupture

June 15, 2015

So, diagnosed with a moderate tear following the MRI in mid-March, 2015, my Physiatrist told me she was no longer my doctor.  She told me to wear the boot for a month and then go and see a surgeon in her practice.  She told me that I was beyond pain management and needed to consider rehab and repair options, including surgery.  She also sent me to physical therapy (PT) during this month.

So from mid-March to mid-April I spent two days a week in PT strengthening the damaged (partial-thickness tear) right Achilles’ tendon (AT)  and wearing the boot most of the time.  I had a pretty pronounced limp from the injury, but still I only wore the boot about half the time.

In mid-April 2015 I had my initial meeting with the orthopedic surgeon, (OS), Dr. Kartelian.  The OS asked how I was, I said about the same, my leg hurt.  He took one look at the MRI and told me that I needed surgery, the question was just when.  I told him that I had a business and pleasure trip to Europe planned from mid-May to  June 2 and we agreed that I would continue PT until the trip, take the trip, and then see him to schedule surgery when I returned on June 2.

So I continued according to plan.  I was set to leave on May 15 to fly to Geneva.  On Sunday, May 10, I arranged to meet my two adult sons at Nationals Park in Washington DC to take in an MLB game.  The Nationals were playing the Atlanta braves for the third game of a three game series that Sunday and the Nats had won the first two games, so we were looking for a sweep.

On Saturday May 9 I went to the gym, rode the exercise bike for 40 minutes and then did all my balance and strengthening exercises on my torn right Achilles’ tendon.  I got up on May 10 and drove in to DC and parked my car at Nationals Park, the Major League Baseball stadium.  I linked up with my two sons who live in DC and we decided to go inside the park and grab a bite of lunch before the game.

It was a beautiful day and I walked with my two sons towards the Center Field gates along Half Street, just a few blocks South of the U.S. Capitol.  Physically I felt good, but I had a slight limp due to my Achilles tear.  It was a lovely warm, clear day without the stifling humidity that comes to DC later in the season.  Walking along, I stumbled just a bit on my left foot - unusual for me because I am usually very sure-footed, but I had on some new shoes and I just stumbled a bit.  I immediately put my right foot down to catch my weight and avoid falling down, and I caught my toe on the top of the curb.  With my right toe on top of the curb, all my body weight came down on my right heel, which did not have the ground to stop it and hyperextended my torn Achilles’ tendon, instantly rupturing it.  I fell straight to the ground, lacerating my right knee.  I was not able to get up, and the pain was intense.  I knew immediately that I had "graduated" from the tear to the rupture club.