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!!

13 Comments so far

  1. superjewgrl on October 15th, 2013

    Great post Craig! I agree with all your sentiments about this being a horrible injury mentally, emotionally and physically. My friends/family who haven’t experienced anything like this thought when my boot came off I would return to normal. Ha.

    My PT thinks I am a little ambitious to want to run 5 miles on the Alter G by 12/31. I will be just over 4 months by then. He tells me to be patient. i want to punch him in the face when says that. :) Instead I tell him I’ll try. I won’t ever put myself at risk, but I want to go to the line without overdoing it. When did you start jogging? How long do you go for?

    Keep up the great work and keep us posted.

    Take Care. xx

  2. dwolf on October 16th, 2013

    Wow, this is so encouraging! I have just injured my Achilles and this has given me hope for the future. Keep up the great work!

  3. josee on October 16th, 2013

    Keep up the good work, it must feel great to be able to get the heart rate up again. I am about to start sleeping without the boot after 7 weeks and I am terrified!!

  4. kellygirl on October 16th, 2013

    Hey there, Craig! Great update. I agree that we have come a long way from day 1. It seems like a lifetime ago. FWIW, IKWYM about the fatigue. I attribute it to the more sedentary routine I got used to while NWB and FWB in the boot–my activity level was far below normal for a prolonged period. I also think I was stressed out about my rehab and limp–the preoccupation with my ATR was a full time job (or so it seemed.) Nowadays, I hardly think about it and I finally feel like I’m getting back to normal. I can’t remember the last nap I took :) My point is, it sounds like you are doing everything right, keep working out, your stamina will come back!

  5. micah1 on October 16th, 2013

    Hi Craig, Your post summarises so well what we all went through. I’m impressed that you are jogging at this point. My physio’s say I’m not ready just yet, althought they have started me doing 3 mins light jogging on a trampette, so I guess I’m building up to it. At 7 months I can just do a small single heel raise that involves every thread of muscle and a heap of will power, so you probably won’t be long.
    The achievements at this stage seem even smaller than before, but I have to remind myself that 5 months ago I could barely walk to the end of the road, 4 months ago I limped slowly, last week I did a 3 mile very hilly rocky slippery walk and you wouldn’t have known I’d ever been injured. I did feel a bit calf sore the next day, but nothing much.
    I threw away my old shoes too. I said, in my very best Jennifer Aniston voice “Because I’m worth it”
    Keep posting Criag!

  6. craiger9er on October 16th, 2013

    I’m a little jealous of that Alter G. I wish I had that option but don’t. My heel usually hurt big time because of the impact. Right now, I’m jogging .25 mile, walk .25, jog .25, walk. 25….next step is .25,.25,.50,.25.

    I got discouraged when I met someone who, at 6 months, wasn’t jogging yet. It really put me in a funk for a while. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I had to accept that it might happen. I was thrilled when my doc gave me the go ahead at 4.5 months.

    Getting the heart rate up is nice, feels good to be able to do that again and break out a sweat. The first night was by far the scariest without the boot. It did tons to help me mentally though in the long run. Sleeping without it a few nights went a long way in helping me realize that it isn’t as fragile as I thought.

    Thanks Kellygirl. You’re always a source of encouragement, not just to me but others as well. I hope your rehab is going well.

    Micah - I try to celebrate my recent achievements even though they don’t feel as big as earlier in the process. So I go out of my way to make it bigger, whether it’s treating myself to a favorite meal or buying new shoes, agreeing with the “Because I’m worth it” sentiment. I’m sure you’ll get the go ahead to start jogging soon. Sounds like a race for you to start jogging and me to catch up to your single heel raise.

    Thanks everyone.

  7. superjewgrl on October 17th, 2013

    Craig… my foot won’t roll at all. Did that happen to you? I ran up and down my kitchen and the foot is flat. So, I won’t try that again for a while. As for the Alter G, if I go faster than 2.6 - 2.8 mph at 55% of my body weight I will limp.

    Your jogging progress sounds great. I am jealous.

    Keep us posted. Take Care.

  8. craiger9er on October 20th, 2013

    Mine does roll. I worked very hard and consciously about getting my step and gait right because it didn’t at first. I was very flat-footed. I really had to concentrate to make sure I hit the heel and tried to at least lift my heel off the ground when I walked, even if I wasn’t pushing off. I also had very VERY short steps. Stairs were the same, very deliberate to do it the way I was with the other foot. I did a treadmill exercise where my good foot was on the side and I just used my bad foot in a “skateboarding” type motion, which I think helped also.

    It’ll come for you, just don’t rush it. I know, that’s the hard part.

  9. Christa on October 20th, 2013

    Glad you’re making some progress bro! How long has the excess fatigue been going on? are you doing the basic things like getting enough sleep at night and eating foods that are good for you?

  10. normofthenorth on October 20th, 2013

    Craig, I think your notes about how to be appropriately aggressive with exercise are worth repeating. Many people think of ATR Rehab as walking a tightrope, but I think it’s more like hitting a winner in a court sport (tennis, v-ball, badminton, etc.). You want the ball to hit the line, but if it’s out you lose. The value graph is a sawtooth, getting better and better as the shot gets closer to the line, then dropping straight to zero on the out side of the line. (Apologies to non-geeks!)
    Point is, the winning strategy is to aim for a spot inside the line, to leave some leeway so you make good shots but don’t lose too many points hitting out. Tightropes are symmetrical, but this isn’t. Going a day or a week too slow is sad, but but small stuff; going a week too fast can be a tragedy.
    For non-op patients, it’s a bit more symmetrical than for post-op, because going too slow does more harm, according to the evidence. But it’s still not a (symmetrical) tightrope by a long shot.

  11. craiger9er on October 20th, 2013

    Hey Christa - thanks for stopping by to read my blog. Being my sister, I’m sure you know that I haven’t been eating the right things. I’m really trying to lately and am working on more sleep also.

    Norm - thanks for the insight. I agree, my biggest thing was always not to have any setbacks. I started doing too much at the gym, trying to push through some pain and my trainer said no, it doesn’t work like that. So I laid off and just did what he told me to do, without pain and it’s been so much better since then. Sometimes it was just turning my foot a 1/2 inch to the left or right during a stretch or exercise, but it’s been a lot better since.

  12. bionic on October 21st, 2013

    Great post Craig. Lots of perspective for me in your words. I am about a month behind you and I could see myself writing this in about a month.

    Our bodies have to adapt to a completely different routines and speeds post ATR. This can have various effects physiologically, emotionally, and mentally with experiences such as fatigue, depression, recovery, and even memory, focus etc.

    We have been forced to ‘foreign lands’ and things are new at first. After a while we suffer all the ailments that come with large forced change.

    Albeit painful, there was a bit of a newness phase to the experience. Now I’m finding my food habits have changed for the worse. My sleep is probably not as good. Nothing serious but changes enough to notice.

    Also, you say you are going to the gym x days/hours a week. However, with all the ‘energy’ a recovering achilles takes your rest is (x - days off achilles energy)

    I do admire your motivation with workouts, even if you should be scaling back. I was very active with team sports and having a hard time trying to get into just solo cardio. But if you can go 4x/week, I have no excuse.

  13. bionic on October 21st, 2013

    (x-days off achilles energy)

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