9 Months - really?

Yes, it’s been nine whole months (which I can’t believe) since the day of my rupture on May 15th. Surgery was the 21st - I think I’ll celebrate by treating myself to something nice!

So looking back, and for those that are new here, I STRONGLY suggest for you to post regularly. It will slow down once you get more active, but it’s been super helpful for me to go back and see where I was and where I am now, believe it or not, you will begin to forget the little things. I’ll never forget the 15th and 21st - my achilles-aversary, but stuff like exercises, ginormous obstacles that were huge then but not so big now. I thank God every single time I step OVER the side of the tub to get out of the shower and not have to scoot between chairs or butt-swing out of the tub.

My last post was at 6 months and I was doing a Plyometrics program with a trainer. It was an 8 week long program but because my doctors appt was a week after it ended, I scored a full extra week!!!! Yea!!! - Not really….So here’s the 6-9 month review.

Plyo - (each stage 2 weeks) Stage 1 - I started out jumping with both feet, small hops at first then getting bigger/higher. Added some partial rotation in there all on both feet. Was going pretty well and had no problems. This was 3 days a week, mixed in with 2 days of a jogging program/strengthening program.

The second stage was more of the same, just longer times/more reps. Introduced some single leg stuff. Starting jumping from my bad foot and landing on both feet. Started doing side to side hops, from one leg to the other (ice-skaters)

Third Stage- More of the same but mostly single leg stuff now. Single leg hops, single leg jumps over a theraband, side/side and front/back. Added some restart runs also. Would do the ice-skater and on the last one landing on my bad leg, I would single-leg (ATR) crouch with my right leg back, swing it forward and push off with my left - starting to run.

Then I would start on two legs, jump back, land on ATR leg and get into that same position, swing the right leg forward push off with the left and run, about 10 steps.

Fourth Stage - This program was tough to begin with, but these stages were brutal on me. Everything was single leg, except a box jump. The height of the box was about knee high. I’d jump up, lead with the ATR leg going down with a little hop, then bring the right down faster to land on both. After I landed, I’d jump back straight up. My Side jumps went from over a theraband to over a 1/2 round exercise foam thingy. I’d go side/side then front/back, over the foam 1/2 roller. Single leg jumps with 90 degree rotation. “Ice Skaters” with more runs added (started with 1, now doing 8 runs) then the restart runs front/back. I forgot to mention, that the runs are 1 forward and 1 back. So I was also practicing backpedaling also. The second week of all my stages were just added reps/time. This stage really took a toll on my left knee. I had to ice both.

Icing both the knee and ankle So I finish up 8 weeks of plyo - I’m done!  I’m ready to move on.  I go see my trainer and he asks when my next Dr. Appt is and I tell him in a week and that’s when he gives me another week.  I was able to struggle through the knee pain but had to tone back on some stuff and days.

So I go back in after this is done and he has a strength test for me.  He has me jump with my right leg as far as I can and then with my left.  He measures where I’m at with the two.  Then to the back, to the side, to the other side then a triple, single leg jump.  Some of them I actually scored better with my left than my right.  Overall, I scored a 95% with my left compared to my right.  I graduated!  So plyo was done and now he’s got me working on interval running.

Five minutes at 5.5 mph, then 30 seconds at 6, 30 seconds at 5.5, and rotate like that up to 9 mph.  I did that the first week and then upped it the next week by .2 mph the next week.  So 5.7 then 6.2, 5.7 then 6.7…etc….

I do the interval running 3 times a week and strengthening 2 days a week.

So my next meeting is with him today in about an hour.  I have no idea what he’ll have in store for me this time.

I still ice everyday or almost everyday.  Long socks are my nemesis.  Just that little amount of compression or rubbing against the scar drives me nuts!!!

My knee still hurts a bit but is getting better now that I’m not doing single leg plyo.

Overall, I feel I’m in better shape now than before it happened, just within the last couple of weeks I’ve felt I finally caught up.

Through this whole ordeal, I realized just how important it is to stay active.  So even after my program I plan on continuing jogging and working out.  I was before, but would only do it sporadically.

I hope this post didn’t bore everyone to sleep.  For those just going through this, keep your head up as it does get better!

Hoping everyone is healing well.

6 months and plyometrics

Hey everyone. Here’s my 6 month update.

I visited the doctor on Nov. 7th and he gave me the go ahead for Plyometrics training. So I told my trainer this and he set me up with a program on the 20th, which was 6 months (minus a day) post op. I was pretty scared to be jumping. Each one of these steps is as big of a mental obstacle as it is physical it seems. My doctor and trainer both said I could do it, so I trusted their opinion and went for it. My trainer has me jump up and down, distributing my weight evenly when I land. I do as many as I can in 20 seconds, making sure I cushion the landing with about a 45 degree bend at the knees. I then jump forward 8 times and back the same amount. I do a squat jump, where I bend my legs knees 90 degrees and jump. I also jump side to side, both feet together and then front/back, each for 20 seconds. I then do a run/hop in place, then a side jump to one foot and a side jump back to the other foot, they call it an “ice-skater” if that gives you a better visual.

I’m up to 1.50 miles on the treadmill and am around 5-5.2 mph (roughly 8-9kph). I did get up to about 6mph for about a minute as he wants me working towards 6.5 mph. I really need to work on cardio! I’ll be up to 1.75 miles on Tuesday. I do the plyometrics 3 times a week and strengthening 2 times a week right now.

Strengthening consists of a one legged standing cable row with a little squat/bend in the knee, walking on tip toes, walking on heels. Plus calf raises, straight footed, then toes in heels out, then heel in-toes out, so I work all of my calf/ankle muscles. I also do one legged leg-presses, something they call a “running man” where I stand on my ATR leg swing my good leg up to 90 degrees, drop it back behind me while bending the ATR leg and tap my toe on the ground. A single trunk rotation with a 4lb medicine ball, touching the wall behind me both ways while keeping arms as straight as possible. I also do my jogging on this day as my trainer doesn’t want me jogging and doing plyometrics in the same day. I stretch before and after each workout also.

I’m still experiencing a fair amount of soreness in my ankle and foot (not around achilles though-which is good I think) and if I skip more than 1 day of exercising, I really get tight and have to really have to work on stretching it out before it’s functional. It’d be nice just to have a day or two where it feels normal again but I’m sure that’s a ways off. I also started getting out of the car normally and not like an old man (swinging both feet out first).

Hope everyone is heeling well.

1 mile, a cloud of dust and a shred of daylight at 5.5 months (with Video)

Hey everyone.  I hope everyone is heeling well first off and foremost.

I’m currently at around the 5.5 month mark after surgery.  My trainer gave me the go ahead to start jogging, basically a couch to 5k program.  I’ve been working on that and made my first mile, sort of.  I stretch and do all my exercises first and then jog at the end, followed by stretching again.  I always start out with a 2 minute walk then I did:

Program 1 - 1/4 mile jog,   1/4 mile walk,   1/4 mile jog,   1/4 mile walk
Program 2 - 1/4 mile jog,   1/4 mile walk ,  1/2 mile jog,   1/4 mile walk
Program 3 - 1/2 mile jog,   1/4 mile walk,   1/2 mile jog,   1/4 mile walk

So the jogging gets increased in increments like that and I made Program 3 this last week for the entire week.  So I got a mile in with some walking mixed in and am slowly working my way up to 1 mile jog,   1/4 mile walk,   1 mile jog,  1/4 mile walk.  The cloud of dust is my 4.6 MPH (7.4 KM/H) - SPEEDY!!!!  I actually made it up to about 5MPH for about a minute.  Now, I’m 6′2″ also, just for reference, so I can have a long stride, but I do keep it short as I’m trying not to really push off on the front of that foot. Five MPH felt like I was FLYING though.

And now ladies and gentlemen, the moment we’ve all been waiting for - the Shred of Daylight!!!  My single heel raise.  I’ve been trying and trying and my trainer told me to really start working on this, so I’ve been at it.  He demonstrated and said for me to do it, I looked at him and told him that I’ve been working on it, but it’s evaded me so far and that was last week.  He said to try it anyway and said he could see it come up a bit.  It felt like you might be able to slide a playing card under my shoe, at most.  So I went a week of working on it and today, it felt about the same, like it barely comes up.  Seeing as how I can’t really see back there I took some video and YouTube’d it.

Holy MOLY!!!! I was surprised when I saw how high it came up. It really felt like nothing and I really had to strain to get it up, but when I saw it I couldn’t believe that I could probably shove a whole deck of playing cards under there, especially at that last push. My calf has a ways to go to catch up to the right one, but I’m getting there.

My next appt with the doctor is on the 7th (4 days from now). I don’t see him giving me the green light for any Plyometrics or fast running and I’ll probably remain on the program I’m on, but each day I feel like I get closer to the top of the mountain.

5 months to the day - throwing out the shoes and a concern

Exactly 5 months ago today things changed dramatically for me when I tore my left Achilles tendon.  On my 5 month anniversary, I threw out the shoes I was wearing on that day.  I probably keep shoes too long and my wife even told me that I needed new ones, but I guess I’m just frugal (or cheap?) when it comes to buying new shoes.  I foresee this changing in the future.

My shoes sat in the shoe rack and I haven’t worn the left one since that day (the right one I wore a time or two while on crutches.)

So - looking back.

This has been the worst injury I’ve had, mentally, physically and emotionally.  The first few months of my ankle swelling in my cast were extremely painful.  Getting the boot was so welcome!  Sleeping out of the boot was SCARY.  My first shower with no boot was double scary.  Transitioning to two shoes - yikes!  Some of it is starting to seem like forever ago, while it sometimes seems like yesterday as well.


I can’t view this thing day by day, but have to look at it month by month.  One month ago today, I was walking very very slowly and deliberately.  Now my limp is starting to slowly disappear.  I’m also seeing an athletic trainer 2x a month for a workout program.  I’ve only seen him once but like the exercises he’s given me.  He’s also got me on a couch to 5k type program.  Jogging again feels liberating even though I always hated it.  I’m not fast at 4.2-4.6 MPH but it feels like I’m FLYING!!!


Darn single heel raise!! Why do you evade me!  I’m getting closer and closer everyday and for the most part, it does get easier with a few days of super soreness which tells me I overdid it the day before.  Also in the future, jumping (plyometrics) and running, although I think I’m a ways off from that, still looking forward to it.


I have a lot of fatigue.  Almost to the point where I’m taking a nap everyday or really struggle to stay awake.  I go to the gym in the morning 4 days a week for 1 to 1.5 hours and by noon/1pm I’m really dragging and can hardly stay awake.  I don’t feel like I’m really doing a ton at the gym to make me this tired though.  Has anyone else had what they would consider an abnormal amount of fatigue / excessive tiredness?  Even on my day of no gym/rest, I’m dragging it seems.

Hope everyone is healing well.  For the newbies, sorry you had to join us, but it does get better!!

Arghhh!! and need some suggestions for exercises

Well, things were going well with Physical Therapy and all and I had 3 months scheduled for it. Then I found out my insurance maxed me out at 2. I’ve appealed and they’ve denied. I’ve tried for occupational therapy, denied again. It ended on 9/2 - so I’ve been on my own for the last 3 weeks.  Thankfully my PT gave me some at home exercises and I’ve been working on those everyday. It didn’t seem enough, so I joined a Gym.

Started doing my exercises and using some calf machines there and for joining, they set me up with a trainer for the first visit. I told him what I was going through and he gave me a few extra exercises (also non-calf/atr related) but he’s not an expert on rehab and what I need, just some basic strengthening stuff, which I’m thankful for as I need all I can get. He even marveled at the atrophy in my calf.

The 2 months in PT I’m really happy for, but feel it wasn’t enough, not even close, especially since I was in a boot for 1/2 the time. So my questions are - what exercises is everyone doing to strengthen, etc. I feel my ROM is good, but strength is horrible. Although, I have felt a little tightness in my calf, which was exiting as all get out!!!!!

What I’m doing related to my injury.


BOSU ball - squats on Bosu with no weights.

Heel Lifts - using my left (injured) leg as much as I can

Treadmill - walking (did some light jogging, not sure if I should have though - no one to tell me yes/no)

Biking - this is usually my warmup

Stair Climber - trying to use the front part of my foot to push, lifting my heel when I can.

Cable Machine - ankle strap attached to good leg, standing on my left leg, moving my good leg forward, back, side to side, etc (works on balance on my ATR leg, and strengthens it)

Cable Machine - I do something taught to me in PT they called "wood chops".  Basically I raise the cable to the top of the machine, stand on my ATR leg and pull the handle down in a chopping motion towards my left knee.  I started with both feet on the ground, but lifted my good leg off.  Turn around and do it the other way

I still have my theraband which I do some strengthening at home. I ordered some more bands as well.

One leg stand, then I shut my eyes.  This one’s harder than I thought and I really have to work to stay balanced.  I felt this one was very helpful in the beginning.

Ordered a Foot Rocker.

Thinking about building a Slide Board that they use in Hockey.  I read on here somewhere that someone used it and liked it.

I think I’m going to try to add swimming to this as well.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Hope everyone is healing well!!!

How time flies

Man oh man - so I got the official go ahead to walk no boot/crutches about 2 weeks ago and walk I have, probably too much at times. It seems that once I could walk, even if it’s gimpy and slow, I had to do a LOT more. Not exercise so much but just family / friend related stuff. Go shopping, take the kids here, there, go out to dinner and events with friends etc etc. I’m still at a snails pace while walking but Physical Therapy has me headed in the right direction.

Going back - We did take a trip to the lake just before I got the go ahead to ditch the crutches. I was a little nervous on the boat in two shoes and crutches and thought it’d be easier with the boot - so I took a pic so show everyone.


So I wore the boot on the boat but at the beach, two shoes.


Then, I decided to try swimming.  So with the help of my wife, I made it across the sand (barefoot) and to the water.  She helped me get in to about my knee and I went from there.  I gotta tell ya though, those little pebbles at the bottom of the lake felt like sharp glass.  It was so painful.  My foot is so tender to anything.  I found out that grass was a little painful even, the bottom of my foot is just SO sensitive. I didn’t think swimming would hurt, but it did. Kicking hurt the top of my foot, stretching everything that hasn’t been used in a long time. I’m looking forward to trying it again though.

The hard parts where the drive and spending the day on the water with the kids.  There wasn’t a whole lot of elevating or ice for that matter.  It was fun and good to be out though.

After vacation was the dr appt where I got the go ahead to walk.  I walked 1.03 miles my first day, which my PT yelled at me for, but I had to do it.  It wasn’t easy and I really concentrated on getting my gait just right.  So after my walk, here’s what I did.

Other than that PT gave me a ton of new stuff to work on, including heel raises. I can do both feet but most of it is on my good leg for sure. I tried with my ATR leg but no go. I think I might have gotten the heel about a millimeter off the ground but maybe that was just my positive thinking.

Hope everyone is well.

Went swimming and for a walk on the beach

Hey everyone. Decided to take a little vacation with the family for some boating and swimming this week. Went to the family cottage in Indiana. The kids wanted to go to the beach on our first day, so off we went. My doc wants me in 2 shoes and PWB crutches, but since I know how crazy sand is, I brought the boot. I made it to a bench close to the water and ditched the boot for bare feet. I grabbed my crutches and headed towards the water. Made it over all the treacherous sound mounds to the water and in. The lake was a little dirty from all the boat traffic so I couldn’t see where I was walking - scary. I had no idea if I’d step in a hole or off a rock, so I kept the crutches with me, into the water about waist deep. My wife took them back to the bench for me. I walked very slowly, good leg first in a shuffle step and finally went full in. Started swimming and kicking. I had my re-eval at PT the other day and they said my Plantar Flexion is normal so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem. I pointed my toes and started kicking. Wow - didn’t expect that. It hurt some on the top of my feet and just felt really tight. The pain wasn’t intense, but I could definitely feel it. I went easy and didn’t kick as hard, mostly using my arms from then on.

Afterwards, I get out and get back in the boot and head up to the snack shop. Get in, get some ice cream and head out. I’m standing on the patio and a guy notices the boot and asks what I did, and before I said anything, he guessed Achilles, and then showed me the back of his left leg. Yup - he did the same, about 3 months before me. He told me he’s walking without a limp but no jogging, running, jumping etc…..first one with a Torn Achilles that I’ve run into. I’ve heard tons of broken leg, ankle stories, etc etc….but this was the first one of my people I’ve actually run into. We talked about what happened and everything and the recovery process and PT and everything else. It was oddly cool, sucks we have this common thing to talk about, but someone who completely understood (besides everyone here) exactly what I was going through. What was weird is that they took a vacation in upper Michigan to a place called Crystal Mountain. They had a summer vacation there and he rode this “slide ride” - basically a cart on wheels that goes down a track. He wiped out with his kid and showed me a scar on his arm. My wife started laughing and told him that I did the exact same thing, the year before they were there. I started to feel like this guy and I were separated at birth…..just weird.

Hope everyone is healing well. Oh and my PT re-eval went pretty good, my therapist said my ROM is good. I’m normal with Plantar Flexion, and really close to the left and right….Dorsiflexion I have a little way to go, but she said it was pretty good still.

Walking Barefoot Video - Very Slowly

Here’s a video of some of my first steps, thought I’d share it with everyone.  It’s my left leg that’s bad.  I’m at 10 weeks and 1 day post ATR, and 9 weeks and 2 days post op. Slow and steady for now.


I finally made it out fishing for the first time in 2.5 months. My good doctor gave me the go ahead for 2 shoes and I’ve been working them around the house with crutches and baby steps but haven’t ventured outside that way…yet. Fishing was no different. I have a buddy who’s fishing a bass tournament on the Detroit River / Lake Erie coming up and he asked me to practice with him. So I got up at 5am to meet him at his house. In the morning’s I’m still really slow - so I booted up and headed out, no way I’d risk two shoes on a boat in choppy water. For those of you that don’t know, Lake Erie can get pretty rough, especially in a 21ft bass boat.

Crawling from the main seat to the back deck’s seat wasn’t easy with the boot, and the waves didn’t make it easier. Those of you in a boot know you’re at the mercy of the thing when you step on uneven ground, so when the boat rocked so did I. I just made sure I had three parts of my body down at all times. Two hands and a boot or a boot a foot and a leg and I was ok. Made it through a thunderstorm (and my garbage bag / boot protector) and a few minutes of rough water, but all in all it went well. I even made sure to get the boot in a picture. It was so great being out and able to do something I love again.

After the long day of fishing - 6+ hours, we got back and I was feeling pretty good. I made the 30 minute drive home and then sat down, still doing well, then it felt like someone hit me with a truck. I was tired, achy and sore - not so much my bad leg, but everywhere else, everything I haven’t used in what seems like forever. So when I started to ice it, I fell asleep instantly. Best sleep I’ve had yet.


Since Stuart Asked, here’s some more

7/18 - 8 weeks 2 days post op - two shoes?

So last time my good doc told me “put some weight on it”, (in the boot) but never really said to go full bore, but also didn’t say I couldn’t. After about a week with crutches PWB, I ordered the Evenup Shoe Balancer. Man I wish I woulda ordered that thing right away. It made it so much easier with crutches, I recommend it. I was in between on sizes and went down a size, based on their recommendation. Good choice, kept it nice and tight.

After a round or two of PT, my therapist said that I should FWB and that while it’s in the boot, I really can’t do any more damage. So I started walking on it, using the heel of course. So walk I did - around the house, up some stairs down to the end of the block and then - around the block twice. The hardest thing was not locking my leg to step. I watched RyanB’s video and just forced myself to push that knee/shin forward. I just had to learn to “trust the boot” and once I did, I started getting faster. I could now carry things in each hand!!! Oh the little joys.

So today I went back to the doctor and he asked how I’m doing and I told him well with little pain. He asked how much weight bearing I’ve done and my response was “all of it.” He said “good” and then said something scary - start using only two shoes! What, no way - not with that little thin popsicle stick down there. He said go slow, 2 crutches and make sure I’m pushing a little bit forward with it, not just short stepping on the heel. WOW! Seriously? So what did I do - I put my boot back on and walked out of the doctor’s office. I really had no way of carrying it out, but when I got home I decided to give it a go. Very slowly I walked around the house, two-crutching everywhere. Very little pressure moving forward and already I can feel it in my calf. He said at 3 months we’re gonna start pushing it a bit more, but for now, that’s where I’m at.

So I got the green light to soak it, swim and wean off crutches. Now I got big plans. I’m gonna soak myself in a bath, maybe find a hot tub. What I’m really looking forward to is getting a cooler full of ice and dunking my entire foot in there, up to my calf. First things first, I’m going fishing.

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