One Year Anniversary! May 2016

May 14, 2016

Today is May 14, 2016. I ruptured on May 10, 2015 and had surgery on May 20, 2015 so it is my one year anniversary. I went back to see the surgeon for a one year check about 2 weeks ago - everything looked fine to him.

So - one year later I have progressed to the point that I can pretty much do anything I could do before the rupture. I am jogging every day. I jog at 5 mph for about 30 minutes. Before the injury my daily run was at 6 mph, but I am still working out of the loss of endurance and gain of weight that came with my recovery over the past year. I plan to run the Army Ten Miler in Washington in the Fall and will continue training. My running training is basically completely normal. My ankle is not sore afterwards, I do just fine.

Daily activities are not affected at all by the ankle. It is sometimes a little bit stiff in the morning (the first thing I do is walk down stairs) but that goes away with my normal activity. I started doing one legged calf raises just about 2-3 weeks ago. It is still hard for me to get up on my toe using only the repaired ankle, but I can hold my body weight on the injured side without any problem. I continue to do calf raises and stretches in addition to my running.

My calves are totally symmetrical - no sign of the atrophy which was so pronounced just a couple of weeks after the injury. I have absolutely no fear of putting any strain or force on the repaired ankle.

It was a tough injury and I was so lucky to have great support from my family, flexibility at work, access to a great surgeon and physical therapists, and generally good health. The exercise and therapy are what have gotten me through this. I wish everyone the best of luck in dealing with their injuries - and I encourage you to read back in my blog if you want advice on any stage of your first year of recovery.

Peace out.

October 7, 2015 - 20 Weeks Post-Op

October 7, 2015

Hard to believe it but I got out the calendar (as I do every Wednesday) and ticked off the number of weeks since my surgery on Wednesday, May 20, and today marks 20 weeks!  At this point, I really don’t remember that I ruptured my Achilles unless I think about it. My gait is completely normal, but I feel a very slight “hitch” in my right ankle when walking in flat shoes. I am wearing either well-supported shoes with “Superfeet” arch supports or specialty shoes like Skechers Shape-Ups on a daily basis.

What I CAN do: I can walk normally up and down stairs, as I have a full range of motion.  I am unlimited in terms of cardio work on a bicycle, elliptical trainer, or Stairmaster. 3-4 times a week I do specific strength and balance exercises in the gym, these include leg presses focused on eccentric strength, stability pad work, one-legged yoga poses on my “bad” leg, two legged calf raises, and plyometric hopping exercises. On the treadmill I walk at a 5km per hour (3.1 mph) pace for 30-60 minutes.  I have absolutely no fear of rerupturing at this point and I work hard to put stress on my calf muscles as I seek to rebuild them.

What I cannot do is run - and I define running as leaving both feet at the same time in a forward motion.  I feel like I could if I wanted to, but I am waiting at least another month while I continue to strengthen myself.  I feel like I could probably do a one legged calf raise on my “bad” leg, but I am going to wait on that as well - in the mean time, I do about 100 2-legged calf raises a day and focus more and more of my weight on the “bad” foot.  My biggest issue is eccentric strength.  For example, when walking down stairs, I put the ball of my ATR foot down first and it is still very hard to prevent the heel from just plonking down - I just don’t have that eccentric strength (strength as the calf muscles lengthen) yet, but I recognize it and I am working on it every day.

The scar looks okay - I rub Bio-Oil on it a couple of times a day. It is small and even, the surgeon did a great job on it.  I have lost 15 pounds of the 20 that I gained since the injury, and I am going to try to keep the momentum up and lose a little more.

That’s it!  Very pleased with going the surgical route, with my early weight-bearing protocol and with getting in to physical therapy early (3-weeks post-op.)  I am going to “walk” a couple of 5K’s this Fall - whereas my pre-injury 5K time was around half an hour, I just want to do the distance in an hour (I have been doing this on my own, but It will be fun to join an organized 5K event.)

Best of luck to you all in your continued recoveries.