Here is what I can do: walk and jog without pain in sneakers; ride the bike; perform dual calf-raises with ease; ride the bike as fast as I could prior to the injury.
Here is what I can’t do: single calf raises that are fully extended; walk in dress shoes all day without feeling some discomfort; convince myself that I have any business being on a basketball court.
I did PT for 3 weeks and found it to be mostly a waste of time. My physical therapist is a great guy but I don’t like paying someone to watch me do exercises that I can largely do at home. I currently spend about 15 minutes, 3 times a week, doing various PT exercises at home or at my gym. I had set a personal goal of being able to play basketball by July 4th weekend, but I don’t think I can come close to pushing off my injured leg like I would need to in order to run, cut, jump, etc. All things considered, I’m not complaining. It seems unbelievable that my injury occurred only 3 months or so ago.
I had my first post-no surgery appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. For an explanation of what I mean by “post-no surgery appointment”, see my prior posts. Anyway, my progression is extraordinary according to the doctor. He showed me how the tendon has already healed by running his finger along it (without there being a gap/hole). I was able to press down on his hand with my injured leg easily and he was impressed by my plantar flexion and dorsiflexion (i hope i’m using those terms correctly).
The plan is for me to wear the boot for another week and then move into regular shoes with lifts for 2 weeks, followed by regular shoes with no lifts for another 2 weeks, followed by physical therapy. So basically 12 weeks post injury before physical therapy, although i am almost 100% sure I will start in 10, despite the doctor’s suggestions. I also plan on ditching the boot after the weekend (3 days early).
Again, I’m pleased with my decision to go FWB right away. However, for anyone who reads my blog, please take note that my injury occurred higher than normal, near the calf. In fact, the doctor continually referenced how this recovery is different than a typical Achilles Rupture because it is more like a muscle tear. That being said, my diagnosis was a fully ruptured Achilles. I heard it pop and the MRI confirmed it.
I know I will walk with a gait next week when I stop using the boot. My next goal is to be walking normally by the time I start physical therapy in a month or so.
I have an appointment with my doc on Tuesday. The last time we spoke, which was close to a month ago, he advised me that I could go full weight bearing on the Cam boot, which I had been doing anyway.
Since my last update, nothing has changed. My pain level is basically zero, but I continue to follow the same routine, nothing more. No physical therapy yet, as my doc has not advised it. This morning, I walked around the apartment without the boot and also experienced no pain, but i didn’t put much pressure on my injured leg, nor did I flex my foot, so it was basically a non-event.
I spent all last weekend walking around the city with my wife and newborn son. It felt great. I felt soreness in my heel from the boot, but other than that, no discomfort or pain.
If anyone is following - my aggressive treatment has not disappointed me thus far. No setbacks or anything detrimental as a result of going FWB right out of the gate.
I don’t have much to update since my last post. I’m still FWB although I try to limit the amount of time that I walk in the CAM Boot. That being said, I walk about 5 city blocks to work everyday.
Over the past few days I’ve noticed that the swelling near my calf and upper ankle has seemed to dissipate a bit; also, the morning pain that I’ve become accustomed to is not nearly as severe. Even though I’ve been FWB without complaints, that’s not to say that I haven’t experience discomfort. Anyway, I hope the past few days will be a reflection of moving progress. If things keep progressing, I can imagine that the boot will not feel like such a hindrance to my every-day-life…other than the whole not being able to play basketball or even walk around like a normal person thing.
My son has kept me in good spirits although a little sleepless at times. Here is an example; I’d like to offer an explanation as to how his blanket ended up on my head, but there really is no answer.
Right after the day of non-surgery, I started gently limping around my apartment while still in a cast (without doctor approval of course). As long as I wasn’t stepping out of bed, it wasn’t painful, just uncomfortable. I still used crutches when out of the apartment, although not so much while getting around my office, where I used the same Verbal Kint (”Usual Suspects”) gimpish walk. Stupid perhaps, but I convinced myself that so long as it wasn’t painful, I wasn’t doing any harm.
About ten days later I called the ortho’s office and requested that my cast be removed and replaced with the CAM Boot . This was only 4 days ahead of schedule, so it was not a problem with the doc. At the appointment (with a PA, not my doc), I made the case for going FWB in the Boot. He explained that the protocol was 2 weeks in the Boot with 2 heel lifts at NWB; followed by 2 weeks in the Boot with 1 heel lift at NWB; and finally, 4 weeks in the Boot (no lifts) at FWB.
I kept the lifts, but made the call to go FWB from the start. A few days later, I left a message with the doc to get his opinion on my aggressive treatment. He left me a voicemail okaying FWB so long as I stay in the boot with the lifts.
I’m not one to complain….BUT, I slept very little in a reclining chair in the maternity ward of Lankenau Hospital for 3 straight nights, then I left for Pennsylvania Hospital at 6am on Friday, got ushered in and out of various wards/rooms, until finally I was ready to be anesthetized at about 10:30 AM. An hour later, the surgeon came in and let me know that surgery is not going to happen because my rupture was too high (near my calf) and repairing it would involve tying it to muscle tissue, which apparently is not a good idea. So, at this point I am told that I have 2 options: I can either (a) go home, or (b) get put under anesthesia and receive a PRP shot straight into my ruptured Achilles. I opted for the latter but have no interest in explaining what a PRP shot is, why I chose to have it, or whether I think it will lead me to a faster recovery (yes, please).
I woke up from the anesthesia and my left leg was in a cast, as opposed to the Control Ankle Motion “CAM” Boot I had arrived in. Since my wife and newborn child were still at Lankenau Hospital, I did my best to get the hell out of Pennsylvania Hospital as soon as possible, short of being beemed there. Although groggy and nauseous, in the span of ten minutes I tossed down three horrible oatmeal raisin cookies, chugged a 3 oz can of ginger ale (are hospitals the only place with soda cans this small? is chugged really the right word for taking down a 3 oz can?), put on my clothes, picked up my crutches, and got wheeled down to the lobby where my father was waiting to drive me back to be reunited with my wife and son.
I’ll be 33 y/o at the end of the month. Up until my injury, I was playing basketball in a somewhat competitive atmosphere about 2-4 times per week. On Saturday, March 19th, I was about 3 games in when I stepped back slightly and lunged forward to stay with the man that I was guarding. As I moved forward, I heard a loud “pop” and simultaneously felt as if someone had kicked (or shot) me in the back of the left foot. I began limping around asking the guys on the sidelines if someone had, in fact, purposefully kicked me with the force of Bruce Lee. If only…
I showered at the gym, fearing that I’d be stuck in the ER of a downtown Philadelphia hospital for many hours in my sweaty gym clothes, and then hailed a cab to Jefferson Hospital. At this point, I should probably mention that my wife was 9 months pregnant and due any day. In fact, when I went to the gym that day I did so with some trepidation, fearing that while I was on the court, she might be calling my cell phone to tell her selfish/irresponsible husband that she was in labor. Oh, the irony; or perhaps karma.
Jefferson’s ER was a mess and the perfect visual for why we need universal health care or at least the implementation of Obama’s plan. It seemed to me that a majority of the patients in the waiting area were using the ER as a substitute for primary care. This is a discussion for another day. Anyway, as a result of the packed house at Jeffeson, we headed to Hahnemann University Hospital, where my friend happens to be the chief orthopedic resident. He arranged for me to be seen by the ortho resident on duty, who without much surprise, diagnosed me with a ruptured Achilles.
As I sat in the Hospital googling “achilles tendon rupture”, I came across this youtube clip of the Human Highlight Film going down in a similar fashion as me. You have to appreciate Barkley’s compassion as ‘Nique crutches his way past the cameras. By the way, for what it’s worth, although he was out for the entire year after the injury (January of ‘92), ‘Nique came back the next season and dropped over 29 ppg.