5 Month Update

January 30th, 2015 | Uncategorized | 7 comments

Time flies when once life starts feeling normal again. I’ve been on a break from my formal PT since the first of the year while I deal with new health insurance. I’ll probably go back for a session or two so they can close up my case and report back to my OS.

I can’t think of any milestones since my last update. I think I’m still on the same, relatively flat improvement trajectory. I haven’t had any setbacks due to pushing too hard. I’m pretty much able to participate in everything that I could pre-injury, although with a little caution and still a noticeable loss off power and pop on any jumping or push off type movement. I am also still very cautious with any landing type impacts that force dorsiflexion and rely on my weakened calf to help absorb the impact.

I’ve noticed a big decrease in swelling in the last month. I have no restrictions on any shoes or boots. I can fit into and climb in even my tightest rock climbing shoes.

My affected calf is still slightly smaller and my scar is not so good. The bottom 2/3rd is hypertrophic or keloid-like. I have been using silicone scar sheets and that seems to have helped flatten it out. Fortunately, it is not sensitive and doesn’t get irritated by rubbing on any of my footwear.

  • ATR Timeline

    • Name: derek
      Location: San Diego
      Injured during: Rock climbing fall
      Which Leg: R
      Status: 2-Shoes

      449 wks  5 days Post-ATR
      449 wks  1 day
         Since start of treatment
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    • derek has completed the grueling 26.2 ATR miles to full recovery!
      Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
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Week 16 Update

December 15th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

There are no short-cuts to recovery.  I’ve been plodding along. My walks are faster paced, I can jog but my surgeon wants to wait a couple weeks, and my scar area has continued to desensitize.  I had managed to keep weight gain at bay for the first 12 weeks.  I’m up about 8 pounds since then. Some of the weight is from the 1000’s of squats and lunges that I’ve done and some from San Diego’s great craft beer makers.

I’m back rock climbing (indoors on top rope, low/no risk of any sort of impact or sudden loading on the Achilles) a couple times a week.  The first time back felt very similar to taking first steps out of the boot.   I feel pretty good now and enjoy the easy (for me) climbs as additional PT.  I’m able to control the load on the affected leg and work on strength and ROM in a lot of different body positions.

I’m glad I’ve putting some thoughts on my recovery on this blog.  When I/we think my recovery has slowed to a crawl, it’s nice to look back to see how far I’ve/we’ve come.

3 Month Update

November 21st, 2014 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

Life feels like it is returning to normal. I have been able to start wearing shoes other than trainers and sandals. I don’t have to think too much about my gait and push off until the end of the day or a workout. And the swelling that picked up after I started PT seems to be subsiding.

I have been going to PT roughly twice a week for the past five weeks. My exercises now include quite a bit of dynamic movement in the three plans of motion. All of my exercises so far have been based on some sort of lunge, squat, or step up on a box. Sometimes with light weights in hand. Each session includes mobility stretches and exercises from the hips down. I have not once during any PT session worked on toe raises of any kind. I was surprised that I was able to squeeze two single legged toe raises out today without too much stress. From reading other peoples experiences, it seems like more of a symbolic benchmark. Successful recoveries include people that cannot perform one, but have returned to normal sporting activities without any significant deficit.

I was feeling a little grumpy over the last week or so as I grind through the PT sessions and daily exercises. I still don’t run or jump, although I feel that I am close. Regaining calf strength is a very slow process for me. However, if I look back a week, I can see progress. I still hope to be back rock climbing in some capacity before the Christmas holiday.

Week 10 Update

November 3rd, 2014 | Uncategorized | 9 comments

I feel like I’ve made a mini-recovery breakthrough over the last week. It seems to be a combination of increase dorsiflexion mobility and strength. I finally feel like I am full loading my fore-foot during normal walking and everyday motions. I can go up and down stairs by loading the fore-foot first. The affected leg is still too weak to fully support all my weight without touching down with the heel. Previously I was going up the stairs flat footed and down by weighting the heel and hanging the front half of my foot over the edge. I can feel the forced through the tendon without the slight itching/pulling sensation I had when I first got out of the boot.

My endurance has picked up a bit. I was able to hike around some sandy washes for a couple miles at Joshua Tree National Park over the weekend.

I’m enjoying the slow recovery and looking forward to the next positive surprise.

Week 9 Update

October 26th, 2014 | Uncategorized | No comments

PT appointments still have a fair amount of scar tissue mobilization, mobility and stability drills. My PT group is big on joint (and over all lower body) mobility. I have a feeling I will come out of this with better flexibility than pre-injury. Strength building consisted of body weight activities such as squats, lunges and single leg balancing while reaching with the unaffected leg.

Managing the swelling has been challenging. I’m back to pretty regular ice and elevation. From what I’ve read here, I guess it’s pretty normal when you increase your activity level. I feel slightly stronger and more flexible than last week. I managed a 2 mile walk today at about 3/4 speed. I hope to keep with steady improvements and maybe be strong enough for some more normal paced and longer walks in the near future.

Week 8 Update

October 17th, 2014 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

Eight weeks down and I feel like I am making steady progress, with a minor setback here and there. I’ve been in two shoes for almost two weeks now. Sometime in week six I decided that it might be a good idea to try some one-footed indoor rock climbing at my local gym. I used the boot to protect my affected leg and managed to make it up the 50 foot wall by locking off with my arms and hopping my good foot from hold to hold. This felt terrible and nothing like normal climbing, so I stopped after one route. Two days later I had very bad pain and swelling near the base of my big toe on my good foot. The pain was worse than the Achilles rupture. I managed to give myself a minor turf toe type injury from that one climbing session. Two days later the pain and swelling subsided.

Last week I took a walk that was a little too far. I really struggled with my gait towards the end and was very sore for a day or two afterwards. I have been continuing with my self-directed PT at home, consisting mostly of active ROM exercises and various heel raises.

I had a follow-up with my OS a few days ago. I was officially declared boot-free and given the OK to start PT. I had my first session yesterday, which consisted mostly of ROM assessment, various stretches that were slightly more aggressive than what I had previously been performing and squats and lunges with different foot orientations. This work noticeably loosened up my ankle and tendon and I felt a positive difference in my gait without having to consciously change anything. I have 20 sessions left for this calendar year, so it looks like I’ll be going twice a week until Christmas. Happy Heeling