9 months postop - playing tennis!

20 staples removed
It has been way too long since I’ve posted here and it was eye opening for me to go back and read my last post from 8 weeks postop back in late September. The goal of this post is to detail my rehab as I really couldn’t have imagined it going any better than it has, especially when I think back to some of the toughest times. I remember reading a few posts right after my surgery that sort of inspired me, so hopefully I can contribute something back to those of you early on in the process.

After my 8 week post, I went from the cast to a walking boot and began a religious rehab program. As soon as I was in the walking boot, I went to the pool almost every morning to walk around in the deep end and worked on pitifully weak calf raises. Slowly but surely, I could do a one legged calf raise in shallower and shallower water and then began physical therapy. I only saw my therapist about 15 times over a 6 month period, but he was very agressive and gave me a plan to heal. We did lots of calf raises, agility drills, jumping rope, pushing sleds, etc. Using his plan, I then went to the gym 4 nights a week to continue these exercies. Finally, in March, about 7 months postop I started playing tennis again. Not moving at all at first, just hitting the ball and taking a step or two very carefully. I slowly gained more and more confidence in my ability to run and started doing a 1 mile run on the treadmill after every workout. At first, it was a 12 minute mile, then 11, then 10, etc. By the end I was doing about a 6:30 mile which was about where I was before the surgery.

Last week I finally had the guts to enter a tennis tournament. This was my first year being eligible for the 40 and over category, and it was my goal right after surgery to play this tournament. My right calf is still a lot weaker than my left, and it actually started cramping in one of my matches. However, I was able to play through it and ended up winning the tournament. During the last game, I actually got pretty sentimental thinking about how far I’d come from scooting into the pool on my butt! So for all of you that are early on in your rehab, have faith that a full recovery is really possible, and it actually can happen sooner than you think! My son (holding the trophy) is elated that dad’s achilles is finally better!

8 weeks postop

It’s been a while since I’ve posted so wanted to give an update, especially for those who are earlier on than myself in the recovery. I have seen substantial improvement since my last post at week 5. At week 6, I was instructed to go FWB in the boot which I was placed in at 90 degrees at week 5 after they removed the cast. It was tough for me to get all the way to 90 initially but it got easier after a few days. The first time I put full weight on my booted foot there was a lot of pain - not in the achilles but really the whole ankle, especially the outside of my foot. My first few steps were more of a shuffle and it stayed that way for a few days. I went to the pool a few days after that and did the same shuffle in the 5′ section of the pool and I had no confidence in my foot. However, I really feel like I have seen steady improvement each day since then and am now able to walk with the boot with pretty much no limp. I have been going to the pool a lot and I can now walk normally in 4′ of water (pool doesn’t go any shallower). Without the boot I am able to shuffle around ok, but the ankle feels weak still. I do calf raises in the pool and when sitting down as much as I can, and I think that is a big help to get some strength back. I am now sitting in the doctors office for my 8 week appointment and was just thinking how much things have changed since I was last here 3 weeks ago. As many here have said, it’s a long road to recovery, but hopefully my experience over the last few weeks can be a source of encouragement for those earlier on in the rehab.

5 weeks postop - cast off, in a boot

Hi everyone. I went from a splint for 10 days to a cast for 3 weeks. They cut it off yesterday and I am now PWB in a boot, FWB starting next week. The atrophy of my calf is pretty severe, but honestly not quite as bad as I was expecting. The incision actually looked a little worse to me than when I saw it last time when they took the splint off to remove the staples. No pain on the incision and it felt great to rub all of the dead skin off last night! I have reasonable ROM with it now and can set and do simple exercises while at my desk.

One thing that surprised me a little bit is that they want me at 90 degrees in the boot. I can’t quite get there yet and I am both very stiff and also very afraid of pushing too hard to move my foot into that position. From my readings from this site I was expecting to start with a more obtuse angle in the boot - maybe 100 or 110 degrees. Interested to hear anyone’s thoughts on that based on their experience.

It is definitely liberating to get the cast off and to start moving my foot around - it was extremely satisfying for me to lift my toes off the ground. Something I tried to do in vain right after I ruptured playing tennis. So definitely some progress - now looking forward to moving from PWB to FWB next week. Thanks for reading!

First post-op visit

20 staples removed
The good news is that my wound is healing very well (I’ve had it elevated 90% of the time) and that as everyone here had assured me, my re-rupture fright was unfounded. The bad news is that it was the worst rupture my surgeon had ever seen in more than 25 years!  (I guess in terms of how both ends were complete “mopheads?”) However, he doesn’t think this should affect my long term prognosis. I talked with him about the more aggressive PWB rehab protocols that I’ve read about on this site and elsewhere but he was pretty adamant about putting me in a cast for the next two weeks with no weight bearing. We went back and forth a little bit on this, but he seems confident in that approach for me. So I’ll go with it for now. The atrophy in my calf wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, but I’m sure that will only get worse in the coming days. I snapped a pic of the area after they took out the staples - all 20 of them!

10 days after surgery - re-rupture scare!

Hi everyone. Finishing up the week at the beach here. No real issues during the week - just a lot of scooting around on the knee scooter with the kids. Tonight is our last night here and we took kids for ice cream. When we finished, I stupidly tried to hop over to the knee scooter instead of using my crutches, and my flip flop caught on something and I put some weight on my ATR leg. First some advice - don’t wear flip flops on your good leg and don’t ever attempt to move without a crutch or scooter. It will save you a few seconds at most and is a foolish risk to take.  I am still in a splint (haven’t even seen the wound yet), and it all happened so fast I don’t know exactly how much weight I put on it. I immediately felt something - i wouldn’t describe it as pain, just a sharp tingling/pulling sensation. I was very upset about this but after calming down I don’t think I have any more pain than I did before (essentially none). I texted my doctor and he asked me if I had any pain - when I told him no, he says he thinks it’s probably ok. I see him on Tuesday afternoon for my first post-op appointment and he’ll check me out then but I am wondering if anyone else had any experiences like this so soon after surgery. I had been extremely careful all week and slowly started doing more and more today and hopping without my crutches was simply idiotic. I can still flex my calf and move my toes like I was before this incident and I don’t notice much difference, but I’m just looking to see if anyone else might know how much pain I would expect to feel if I had in fact reruptured by ripping the interior sutures apart, etc. Thanks


6 days after surgery - At the Beach!

I followed everyone’s advice and decided to take our planned trip to the beach with our 3 year old boy and 5 year old girl. We’ve been here 3 days now and it has gone pretty well all things considered. I have a knee scooter which is essential, and my wife has been like a loyal Sherpa carrying everything to the beach. Crutches on the beach are manageable and we pretty much just set up a chair and I sit there with my leg up for a few hours. Worst thing is I can’t cool off by taking a quick dip! I’ve been off the pain meds completely since day 3 and don’t really have any pain right now. I’m still on antibiotics to prevent a post-op infection and I have a question about that. My doctor prescribed Cipro for this - from this forum I have learned that there is a suspected link between Cipro and ATR, so it seems very odd that he would prescribe this for me. Is this a normal thing? I’ve been taking it for 6 days and have only one dose left, so no point worrying about it now I guess, but just thought it was odd. Thanks for everyone’s input!

48 hours after surgery

The pain was brutal last night but it’s now been almost 8 hours since my last percocet and it’s manageable right now…I think. My family and I are scheduled to go for a week at the beach starting tomorrow (this was decided before the injury) and the doctor was okay with the idea. We have two very young kids (3 and 5) and I want them to enjoy it - I’ll be pretty much on the sidelines whether we stay here or go to the beach. Anyone try something like this? Am I crazy to consider this? Obviously I am not getting wet or sandy-just want the kids to enjoy it. Thanks for your feedback

24 hours after surgery

Hi everyone - continue to learn an enormous amount from the site. I’m feeling pretty good for the most part. Had a slight headache last night due to anesthesia, I think, but pain was manageable. Felt great this morning though. However, in the last few hours the pain around the incision has gotten dramatically worse. I don’t know any details about the anesthesia they gave me but I’m guessing that maybe a nerve block or something wore off? Anyone else have a sharp increase in pain like this? I’ve just been sitting on the couch with it elevated, getting up from time to time and moving around in a knee walker (a great gadget by the way). Haven’t done anything to aggravate it so I’m hoping this is normal. Thanks for any ideas.

Surgery in 6 hours

Thanks Dennis for creating my account and for hosting the site. It is a great source of information and support. I am a former pro tennis player and fully ruptured my Achilles 4 days ago at a tennis team event in SC. I knew instantly that my right Achilles was shredded when it happened. This is by far the worst injury I’ve ever had and the coming months of recovery and rehab are daunting! Everyone around me has been very supportive and I can’t thank my teammates enough for carting me around and taking care of me after this happened. Also thanks to fellow Vandy alum Jay Reynolds for his quick diagnosis and for helping me get this surgery scheduled ASAP. Very anxious but ready to do this today!