Aug 09 2014


Week 12

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Things are progressing at a good rate.  My ROM is about back to normal and I started doing seated calf raises.  The best part of this week is no more sleeping with the $%&@#$ boot and 2 shoes for ~1 hr a day around the house.  Also no boot required on the stationary bike.  Woohoo! The atrophy in my calf  is not as bad as I thought it would be at this point.  I do have alot of rebuilding ahead.  I will start walking on the alter-g treadmill in couple weeks, which is pretty exciting.  Goals right now are road biking in a month, mt biking in 2 months and skiing when the snow flies.  Trail running got nixed for quite some time.

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Jul 07 2014


Walking in the boot

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I was finally given the green light for walking a week and half ago.  So much more freedom, crutches or wheels are faster though.  My boot needs a speaker with various robot noises. I feel like a transformer walking on it.  Hopefully I can get some boot movement in couple weeks to make walking a little less clunky.  The bottom of my heel takes a beating with it locked at 0.  I put an insole of a running shoe under my foot to provide some support and cushion my heel more.  I also highly recommend the “evenup”, might have to buy another one since the bottom layer of mine is starting to go.  Anyone have a suggestion for a boot cooling system?  Feels like I have a quilt wrapped around my leg.

I started PT last week, which was fabulous.  Mainly worked on ROM since I do not have much (5 to -20).  Baby steps.  Pretty excited (at some point) to use the Alter G treadmill though.

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Jun 20 2014


10 degrees

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Moved my boot to 10 degrees this past Wednesday.  Kinda odd how little of a change can bring on such anxiety.  I re-positioned the boot then slowly put my foot in.  My calf muscle immediately said ” Hey whats going on?” as it moved for the first time in weeks.  It felt tight but after a few minutes, it was happy again.  On to 0 degrees in a week and walking, or attempted walking.  My first day of walking coincides with air travel.  I debated taking the scooter wheels/cane option versus the wheelchair/crutches option.  I went with the latter and requested the wheel chair service at the airport.

In preparation for walking, I ordered a cane and a step up thing for my shoe.  My wife asked why a bungee cord and piece of plywood would not work and was disappointed that I did not select the sweet pimp walking cane. Excited about walking again, not excited about walking in the boot.

Next visit to the surgeon is in 1.5 weeks.  Not sure what will happen then, hopefully a script for PT.

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Jun 15 2014


Boot Day

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This past week I transitioned from the “splint/miles of ace bandage” to a donjoy mc walker.  From reading other posts and information on the Achilles site and marathon you soon realize how important milestones are.  Probably the mental aspect of the milestones are more important than the physical ones in some regards.  I had been waiting to get out the splint for the 3weeks that followed my first post-op appointment with my surgeon.

Bootday finally arrives and I was excited.  I checked in with the desk and was put in the usual room.  I waited for half an hour.  Surgeon finally came in and gave me the scoop on what was going to happen next.  Basically, get the boot set a 20 degrees and maintain for 1 week.  Then 10 degrees, the week after, then 0 degrees and put weight on it, and try walking.  Another milestone to look forward to, walking again and PT.

The surgeon then tells me I can start taking off the bandages and that a nurse will be in to help me out.  I unraveled the  ace bandage to find this thick white gauze type stuff that I could not find the start or end of.  Instead of making a mess by tearing at it I waited and waited for a nurse to come in in and give me hand.  Finally I grew tired of waiting, opened a draw and wala, a pair of scissors.  I cut the remaining menace off and waited some more.  The surgeon returned and gave me the thumbs up no infection and the incision looked good.  We went over what I could and could not do, the best part of which was permission to wash my leg.  Goodbye trash bag/ace/tape contraption that I made for taking showers.

The surgeon then left and the nurse with the boot arrived.  She had trouble with it and when she had it set where she thought it should be, she put it on my foot/lower leg.  I had some qualms about it since she had it set to flex to an acute angle between my foot and leg.  This was opposite of what the surgeon had told me a few minutes prior about the boot holding my ankle at 20 degrees.  I kinda questioned this and did not get a satisfactory response.  Then the nurse told me to try it out by standing on my ATR leg. To this I said no, the doc told me no walking for 2 more weeks.  She went and checked and came back with the same answer he had given me minutes before.  Not impressed with the nurse.  Anyhow I scoot out and make it home, talk to the wife and she checks out the boot and gets it set up properly.  The boot has negative and positive markings and the nurse had set it to the reciprocal of what it should have been set at.  BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE.

Not really fond of the boot and am looking into the vacocast.  I have not really figured out the best combination of strap location and tightness yet .  However the boot has given me the confidence to get on the bike trainer.  Nice to get some cardio in.

So now I have a week and a half to FWB status.  This coincides with a trip involving plane travel.  I have not figured out the best way to handle this trip.  Take my wheels and check them at the gate.  Leave the wheels at home and use wheelchair service to get around the airport and just take my crutches.  I know I will not be setting any speed records transiting from terminal to terminal.  Not sure what the best plan of attack is for this trip.  Bring the wheels as insurance or just bring the crutches and htfu.

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Jun 09 2014


Do the 12 steps of grieving apply to the loss of an Achilles tendon?

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Continued from previous post….

Morning after my injury I went in to see my primary care physician and he quickly diagnosed what I feared.  He then referred my to the sports medicine ortho group.  I hobbled over there and the ortho doc confirmed the previous diagnosis.  He then listed my options non-surgical vs surgical.  He presented the non-surgical option as something that would have less than stellar results.  Which seems to up for debate after reading some info here.  I went with the surgical option and surgery was on the calendar.  I did some background searching and heard nothing but good things about my surgeon, so I stayed the course.

By 2 days after my injury, getting up in the morning was excruciatingly painful.  Going from horizontal to vertical was not pleasant.  It felt like my leg from my knee down was in a vise that kept getting tighter the longer I stood.  The pain would slowly begin to abate after about 5 minutes of torture.  At 4 days after, I was forced back to bed after my initial attempt at standing and was looking forward to getting repaired.  However, I had some trepidation about surgery the morning of the operation, but everything went smoothly.

I woke up with my lower leg on some pillows with an ice bag and little to no pain.  The surgeon said it was a complete tear and he was able to close the gap to about 1cm.  The bottom part was in good condition, but the top was not.  This forced him to stitch further up into my calf muscle.  They had a splint on my lower leg, which was held on by a mile of ace bandage.

I spent the next 4 days in bed watching movies, sleeping, reading, and doing some work in the guest bedroom.  Pain was not bad and I stopped taking vicodin after a few days.  I had every intention to make a few conference calls, but somehow slept right through them.  Sleeping was good though.  Having a wonderful wife that has an office 100yrds from home was/is a god send given my lack of mobility.  The only issue I had was my tendency to “run” in my sleep (restless legs).  I had one zinger that shot me awake.

About a week later I went in for the first follow-up.  The doctor simply checked the status of the incision, gave me the thumbs up, and I went on my way after scheduling another appointment in 4 weeks.  For some reason I had it in my head that I would get out of the splint and into a boot on the follow-up appointment.  A bit disheartening to hear 4 more weeks of the splint.  I did acquire some wheels though, which has made getting around much easier.  The basket is key.

At present this injury is more of a mental challenge than anything (4 weeks post op).  It is finally summer and I am not able to do the things that I love to do this time of year.  I’m supposed to be climbing mountains and trail running, not sitting inside on beautiful weekends.  It is as if part of me is dead at the moment.  I’m pretty sure I have gone through denial, currently dealing with acceptance….

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Jun 07 2014


What just happened….?

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ATR: Left leg total tear, 1-3 cm gap depending on foot angle

Sport: soccer

Background:  39 year old guy

The injury: On May 8th I was playing soccer, it was ~30 minutes into the first half, I was running forward and jumped to meet the ball and bam!  I hit the ground wondering who had just hacked me extremely hard.  I was face down wondering what had just happened.  I got up and tried to weight my left foot, but not much was happening.  Made it off the field with the help of two teammates.  I sat on the bench wondering what was up with my ankle, pain was not to bad, just no power.  I hobbled off to my car very slowly.  Thankfully I had not driven the manual transmission vehicle to the game.  I called my wife and we debated a trip to the ER.  I eventually drove over to the ER but couldn’t find any close parking and really did not feel like hobbling down a flight of stairs to get there, so I headed home.  The following morning I lucked out with an early appointment with my primary care physician.

To be continued…

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