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Archive for February, 2009

3 Weeks Post Op Update

It seems like it’s been a really long time since my ATR and I must say that this experience has been rather all consuming in lifestyle changes.  Hitting the 3 week milestone is certainly encouraging but I know it’s still a long way to go.  It’s been one week in a cast (after 2 weeks in a splint) where I am only allowed to do TTWB (toe touch weight bearing).  So far getting around on crutches has not been too bad although too much TTWB and my leg gets really sore.  

Some good news is that I have been able to “work from home” most every day since surgery so that has been a HUGE blessing as going to the office every day would make this recovery a lot more difficult.  The reason I don’t need to go the office is that my job was eliminated exactly one week before my ATR so the amount of work really slowed down during the transition period (I’m still on payroll until the end of March) so all in all, if this was going to happen, the timing was really not all that bad.  I’m starting to get out for interviews and networking meetings and to watch my daughter’s basketball games.  Otherwise, I’m planted in my sunroom with my leg propped up, with laptop and phone searching for work.  

The cast:  Some days I hate it and really want it gone, other days it’s not so bad and I don’t really notice it much.  The worst is not being able to move my foot at all and the pressure on the top of my foot and heel is rather uncomfortable, especially at the end of the day.  From what I am reading on this site, that’s all normal so I will just deal with it cause this is how it’s gonna be for several more days/weeks. Mostly I am really grateful for my wife and kids as they have worked extra hard bringing me stuff and doing all the chores I used to do (oh yea, I forgot, I really didn’t do many… except take out the trash-hard to do with crutches and an icy driveway-at least it hasn’t snowed in the past 3 weeks so haven’t had to convince the wife to fire up the snowblower).  Thanks also for all who are posting updates and comments.  It has been helpful to read your stories.  Go Gophers!!

Exercising during weeks 3-6 of recovery

I’m just about at the 3 week mark post op and am feeling the need to start doing some exercising.  I’m wondering what others have done during the early phase of recovery.  If you have any ideas of what works well with a cast on, I’m all ears.  Also, how to strengthen the casted leg without doing damage to the recovering Achilles?

Here’s what I started with today.  

  • Rode my stationary bike for 10 min. doing one-legged pedaling clipped in while resting my bad leg on a bar stool.  Then did a few slow rotations with both legs (I have a cast on my left leg so able to turn pedals very slowly and it felt okay).
  • Did two sets of pushups using my Perfect Pupshups and resting my bad leg on the back of my good leg.  If you want to join my Pushups for Life blog check it out here: http://web.me.com/davidrandrews/PushupsForLife/Welcome.html
  • Did some sit-ups and a few sets on my V2 Hoist weight machine.  Not much but it felt better than doing nothing the past 3 weeks.

First Office Visit Post Op (2 weeks)

Here’s a quick rundown on my first visit back to the clinic, 2 weeks post op.  Saw the PA-CJ, who is terrific and explained the rationale behind the next phase of my recovery.  I had read about early mobilization and was eager to understand options.  She explained that the risks of going to the boot to soon are that the actual tendon does not heal strong enough and can get stretched at spot of tear vs. getting stretched higher up where it attaches to the calf muscle which is where you want it to stretch once  you start working back the full range of motion.  This was her rationale for why I should go to a cast for weeks 2-4 and then look at boot options.  This made perfect sense to me and I flet a lot better about the cast.

So I left the clinic with a black cast, toe cover and cast cover to protect my foot from snow and ice if more should happen to fall in the next few weeks which is likely the case here in MN.  I’m allowed to do TTWB (toe touch weight bearing) only so trying to walk slower with the crutches and put my toes down with every step.  This takes longer because I have to be more careful that just cruising but seems will be better in the long run to keep my toes/leg at least a little involved in the process of walking. 

It sure felt great to have the splint  off for a few minutes and to get it cleaned before the permanent cast was applied.  The cast is solid and heavier than the splint and will take some getting used to.  It’s hard to be patient realizing I must live with this thing for two weeks but on the other hand, it’s much less time than without surgery so I am very glad I decided to go ahead with surgery right away.

The wound looked good, stitches came out easily, tape stays in place.  The cast guy was about to start and I says, “aren’t you going to take out those stitches” and he’s like, “oh yea I thought they were already out…”  It’s good to pay attention to what’s going on.  He actually was very good and put my cast on like it was a work of art–feathering the gauze so as not to leave a bump and smoothing it out, giving me an extra inch of room below the knee, etc.  Nice to find such competent help!

So far all is good as I begin running mile two of the ATR marathon!  Thanks to all who have posted stories.  I have learned a ton and laughed often–You all are terrific!  Cheers!!

First 2 Weeks Post Op

I have reached the 2 week mark since surgery and have my first visit to the doc later today.  Here is a quick update on my first two weeks.  

  • Surgery went well, outplacement, spinal which worked well, back home within about 6 hours total.  The repair was for a complete tear.
  • First 3 days spent on the couch with leg elevated on two pillows which worked well.  Pain was manageable with Vicadin and Advil.  Quit the Vicadin after day 3 and continued advil and tylenol for a couple more days, then not much of anything after that.
  • Getting around on crutches has gone pretty well (have used them before).  Hands, arms a bit sore.  I was walking around the house without any shoes and my good leg was getting sore so I started wearing my right foot Echo slip-on around the house and it was “way more comfortable”  
  • Did not leave the house for 8 days.  First trip out was for a short date with my wife.  Was really good to get out!
  • Went in to the office for half-day yesterday, not too bad but certainly not as comfortable as working from home.  It’s a long crutch walk to the loo, copier, fax machine, etc.  

Yet Another Over 40 Basketball Casualty

I am another classic case of the over 40 guy who remembered the good old days when playing hoops was so much fun and just had to go back.  And it is fun!  I started playing again at the YMCA after 10 years and was having a blast, getting great exercise and enjoying the game.  On my second visit, about 1 hour into our full court play, I jumped hard to intercept a pass and came down on my left leg and felt the “kick in the back of the leg” like everyone else and I knew it was a goner.  The injury I always dreaded had occurred.  I hobbled to the car and drove myself to the nearest orthopedic clinic and waited for the doors to open. Within an hour I had seen a resident, an orthopedic doc and an orthopedic surgeon and had my surgery scheduled for two days later.  

The recovery had begun…