From Achilles rupture to normal again, golf will be the first goal, weblog

An Update, Long overdue

Hi everyone: 

It has been quite a while since I updated my blog.    I guess mostly because things have gone so well, I haven’t had a lot to post.    I had a full rupture, May 10th, surgery May 13th, and I was back in shoes by July 1st.   Things have progressed extremely well.    I have been going to the gym and playing golf a couple of times a week (average) since July.    I started walking 18 holes in August.

For part of July and early August, I had a slight limp from heel aggravation, but that too has gone away, and everything feels very normal again.    I can do two legged heel raises, but I plan to start doing heel raises on the surgically repaired leg in a week.   

Although I don’t expect to play competitive this year, I hope to be playing tennis again (sort of like getting back on the horse), this week.    Nothing too stressful, but I can push things a little more now.   

I am very pleased with my recovery, and I am very glad that I went the surgery route.    I might write more about my thought process behind survery vs non-surgery in another post.

All’s well, except that heel aggravation

Okay, I am at 11 weeks, post op and all is very well.    My ankle feels good, the scar has healed, I can walk without a limp and I am playing golf 2 or 3 times a week.   

There is only one problem..  While most of my ankle/achilles has improved rapidly, I seem to have stagnated with regards to the aggravation at the back of my heel.    I have one pair of shoes (running shoes) that feel good and don’t bother me, so I am good working out at the gym with no issues, but these running shoes don’t look too good with slacks.    I have been trying different dress shoes, but they all seem to aggravate that heel area.   I tried a wide band-aid to see if that would give me some extra padding, but it really didn’t do much good.

Anyone at my stage of healing or beyond me that has dealt with this?    If you have overcome the heel aggitation, please tell me what you are doing or did.        I am very happy with my recovery except for this one thing that drives me crazy!     I figured I just have to be patient, but it doesn’t seem to get much better on a day by day basis.    I thought about coming to work in sandals or barefoot, but I doubt that this would go over very well with my co-workers.

Thanks for any advice, in advance..

Coming up on 10 weeks, my how time flies

I still distinctly remember sitting on the tennis court 10 weeks ago, thinking how ruined my summer was going to be since I had sustained one of the worst sports injuries.    I still feel like it is a terrible injury, but now 10 weeks from injury, and almost 10 weeks from surgery,  I am happy to be able to enjoy the hot days, and do most everything I want to do.    

No tennis yet, but I am working up to that.    I am playing a lot of golf again, and just played in a 3 day tournament last weekend.    I never even had a twinge of pain in my achilles, all 3 days.        I still get swelling almost daily, and there is still tenderness on the back of my heal, but I can live with it.    

My progress from NWB, to PWB, to FWB in the first 8 weeks was very fast.    Progress in the last 2 weeks is not nearly as noticeable.    I am pretty sure that it will be a while before I can play sports where pushing off on the right leg will be easy, and comfortable.        The only time I have a limp is when I wear dress shoes that rub on the heal.       To those out there ahead of me, thanks for your blogs, they were important to me, when I was wondering how long this would take.   To those out there behind me, keep your spirits high.       You will make it back.

8 weeks, no limp now

I am just past the 8 week mark, since my surgery, and I think I have finally gotten rid of most of that walking limp.   My wife, who works in a busy PT office, took me to the office today and did ultrasound and e-stim on my leg, both of which must have helped.    I am pain free, and mainly just feel tightness in my tendon.   Later in the afternoon, I was able to walk, normally, in two shoes.         

I do still have some swelling most days, which I don’t feel, but is obvious when I take off my sock.    It is a good reminder that I am still healing, and in a phase where I still must be extra careful not to re-rupture.    I played golf yesterday, for the third time, with no issues at all.        When I wake up in the morning, my leg is always at a normal size, but usually shows swelling by the afternoon.       I am playing in a three day golf tournament next weekend.   I think my leg will hold up fine, if only my scores will show it too.

Doctor visit, and golf at 7 weeks

Well my original goal was to be golfing by August 1st, but since I was back in shoes at 6 weeks and hitting golf balls on the range, I decided to play a round on July 2nd.     I took a cart and my golf buddy was nice enough to drive up near my ball, so I didn’t have to do a lot of walking.   Everything felt great.    I can’t say that my score was real good, after 8 weeks away, but I was willing to live with a less than acceptable score, just to be out playing.   I golfed again on July 4th, and played much better.    At the end of each round, my Achilles felt tired, and a little bit sore, but I was expecting a lot more aggravation from it.       I used all the clubs in my bag, and never felt any pain or twinges when I was swinging the club.

Then, today, I had my doctor visit to get a real status update on my condition.   He did a quick check of my ankle, saw that there was no swelling, and declared that I was “officially approved” to start wearing a shoe.      Of course, I got the usual guidance to be very careful, especially with exercise that involves quick starts and stops.    I do intend to follow that guidance, so I doubt I will be back to tennis any time soon.    I did add eliptical to my workout routine.    So at a little over 7 weeks, I am able to do weight lifting, rowing and eliptical.     I would like to get more cardio/aerobic work to improve my stamina, but that will have to wait.

I know that I am not the first to promote early weight bearing on this site, but I am very happy to have been able to take that route.    It has paid off, both with the boot, and then in shoes.    I listened to my body the whole time, but I was willing to push it a little more each day.    As long as there was not a strange feeling in my ankle, I kept going.    If my leg gets tired, or my heel gets aggravated, I sit down and rest for a few minutes.    This has worked every time and then I am able to get up and go again.     Thanks to others out there that have provided blogs that described their process.    Seeing that others were able to make a short recovery, gave me the confidence, that I could do it too.   

Not every one will feel the same, and all recoveries will be different, so if it takes you longer, don’t worry about it.    We are all different, and our ATR’s were different too, so some may be faster than me, and some may take more time.   The important thing is that we all recover, without further incident.    As for me, I am staying extra careful, but so glad to be getting back to a normal routine of recreation, work and exercise!   God Bless.

Six weeks, back in shoes!

Well, given where I was a few weeks ago, no weight bearing, boot and crutches, I cannot believe where I am now.   On Saturday, 6 weeks and 1 day from surgery, I ditched the boot and went back to shoes full time.     Note, my next doctor appt is July 6th, so this was not doctor approved.      The bad achilles is still tight, but there is no pain when I walk.   I have a limp, but as I walk for a bit, the limp goes away (mostly) too.   The only other thing I found is that if I am on the bad leg for a little while (about 3o mins), my heel starts to have a burning sensation.   If I sit down for a few minutes, it goes away.   

Throwing caution to the wind, since I was in 2 shoes, I went out to the golf course, with my wife and daughter, and starting hitting golf balls.    I stayed away from the longer clubs and focused on shorter distance clubs, but it all felt really good.    I have a tendency to shift my weight to my right leg, which isn’t always good in golf, but now that I can’t do that, I noticed that I was hitting the ball better too.     By the end of the day, my leg was happy to take a rest, but when I got up the next morning, it felt even better.   So, I went out and did some work in the yard, and went back to the golf course and hit balls again. 

I am extremely careful where I step.    I am determined not to injure my leg again, by tripping over something, or stepping off a curb wrong.   I found that going up steps is really easy.   Going down is much slower.    Also, I did some heel raises in the gym today.   I used a pullup bar to keep from putting full weight on my leg yet, but the heel raises felt good.   I plan to put more weight on my leg each day and see how it goes.       Also, I am starting to do cardio, on the rowing machine at the gym.   I know I won’t be doing stairclimber, eliptical or treadmill for a while, but you can get a pretty good sweat going on the rowing machine.   

There is a golf tournament with the men’s club at my course on July 4th.   I just might play!

Down to one wedge, what’s that knot?

Yesterday, I decided to reduce the wedges under my heal to one, from the two that I had before.    I have to say, it feels really good, and I can walk much better with only one wedge.    I am still in a boot, but I am planning to try to put on a shoe in the next 10 days.    My next doctor visit is July 6, but I don’t want to wait that long.    I suspect, I will alternate between boot and shoe, but we’ll see.

I do have one concern with my leg.    I have developed a little knot at the top of the incision line, under the skin.    It is not painful to the touch, but I am just wondering if it should be there.   Has anyone had a similar knot on the back of their leg?   Is it scar tissue, or what?

Doctor visit, all is good

Had my doctor visit yesterday and all is good.    I think he saw me for all of about 3 minutes.   Inspected the incision, asked me how I felt, removed one of the wedges in my heel and told me to start walking with the boot on.    He recommended that I use one crutch or a cane.    I have never thought of myself as a cane person, although I am sure there are lots of people that need them.    I will use the one crutch for a few days and advance to just walking with the boot.

He told me to come back on July 6, and we would see about going to a shoe.    I can tell you, I will try a shoe much sooner than that.    I figure that I will take another wedge out in a week or two and see how that feels.    I am already walking with no boot (carefully) around the house.    I can’t say that I walk normal, or anything close to it yet, but I don’t feel any pain, just tightness.      

It really seems much longer than 5 weeks since my ATR.    For those of you just starting this journey, give yourself time, listen to your body and your doctor.    Everyone’s recovery will be different.       I am still a long way from fully recovered, but I see progress every week, which gives me a lot of hope that I will finish this marathon.

Four weeks post ATR, bearing weight

Well, it has now been four weeks since I had my ATR event and things are going well.    As you can read in earlier blogs, I did go the surgery route, a few days after the injury, and I am happy that I did.    My scar is healing very well and I have no more tender feeling in that area.         I have a mostly desk job, but when I sit up with my feet down for most of the day, the leg still gets swelling each day, but that too has gotten better.   

I am now testing some weight on the leg a little more each day.   I do this with my boot on, since I figure I need the added stability and support, but I don’t have any pain in the leg when I do some weight bearing.    I am flexing the ankle multiple times a day to try and get some stretch in the repaired achilles.    My next doctor appointment is on Monday, when I hope to get permission to do more full weight bearing.   


2 weeks, stiches out, boot on

On Thursday, I visited the doctor for my 2 week post op visit and all went well.    After two weeks in a soft cast, I was ready for the unveiling of the suture site to see how things looked.    I was fearful that I would see an ugly mess, but to my surprise, it was a clean 3 to 4 inch incision from just above my heal and slightly to the inside of where my achilles would come down.    The doctor said that it was a clean tear and he didn’t have any trouble stitching the tendon back together in the middle.   

Next the stitches were taken out.     I was anticipating some pain, but it wasn’t bad and before I knew it, the nurse was telling me that it was all done.     Once the stitches were out, the doctor examined things and declared that all looked good.     I have some tenderness around the back of my heal, but other than that, there is no pain.     My only disappointment was that the doctor told me that I need to wear a boot with no weight bearing for 3 more weeks, followed by 4 weeks, with gradual weight bearing.     My first thought was, that I will do all I can to push this timeline.    I don’t want to sound stubborn but I will likely try to put weight on the leg in about another week.    Just a little bit of weight and gradually add to it.    I definitely don’t want to reinjure, but I am a pretty quick healer and I know the doctor’s timeline is intended to be conservative to cover all types of healers.       And you know, the last I checked, they do not take you to jail for not exactly following the doctor’s orders.

The doctor also wanted me to wear a soft wrap with a hard splint around my ankle when I sleep.     The good news was that I didn’t have to wear the boot.    So, I put the wrap on and went to sleep the first night, but woke up to that sore spot on my heal really hurting.    Because the splint pushes against the heal, there was a lot of pain there.   I immediatly took the wrap off, and the pain subsided.     From now on, I will just take the boot off and sleep without anything on my leg.   I did that last night, and it was fine.   

My boot is mostly soft cloth with a hard bottom and sides around the foot.    A wedge was placed in the bottom of the boot to keep my heal up.   This boot seems like it has about 10 feet of velcro straps which are wrapped in different places on the boot.       When I am at home and sitting, I take the boot off and let the surgical site get some air.      The doctor told me to do ankle flexing exercises a few times a day to start stretching the tendon, a little at a time. 

Also, now I can take a shower!    This is a fantasting thing.   Our shower has a seat in it, so I safely get into the shower and then sit down.    This is still so much better than those sponge baths of the last 2 weeks.  

I went to the gym today and worked out, which was a great thing to do.    Although I have tried to do a few things at home to exercise, it was so good to get back to the gym and try to get back in shape, from two weeks away.

I must say, that I was in a little bit of denial for a few days, after this injury occured.    The first question, was “why me?”   What could I have done to have prevented this?    I was in good shape, warmed up and yet it still happened, with no warning at all.    After two weeks, I have a long way to go, but I am now taking this injury and recovery as a challenge to get myself back to doing what I could do before.    I doubt that I will be back on the tennis court for quite a while.     Tennis was always enjoyable, but not my favorite thing to do.      I am hoping to get to weight bearing with a boot soon, so I can go out, and practice a few golf chips and putts.     I will progress from there.    My goal of playing golf in August is still in reach!