One year and a month later……

I thought I should offer a one year update.  All is well.

I was injured with a full rupture 3/31/13, surgery 4/5/13, went to London on crutches 2 weeks later and took off the boot and began walking without help 6 weeks later.

I have been able to do everything I did before with no limitations which is pretty great.

I golfed all summer, played a little tennis, rode a bike and began to run a little in August.  Running was the slowest and hardest thing to get back.

I started playing basketball in September at 5.5 months and after a few weeks being careful  felt like I could play again.  I don’t feel I can jump as well but I’m not trying to dunk it or anything.  I have played 1-2 times a week full court ever since.

I ran a 5k in March and just did a 6 mile kayak race.  I’m slow but active.

I have a visible scar, and often feel tightness in my Achilles but it really did go back to normal size and shape.  A little soreness is all I can say I have experienced.

I do take time to stretch and hope to remain injury free for the future.  Hope is a good thing.

For any new injured persons hang in there and do your PT.  It gets better and life goes on.

Cheers!  Doug

10 Week Dr. Visit, PT and allowable activities

I just returned from my ten week visit (actually nine weeks 2 days but who’s counting….)

I am doing really well in general. My PT has been great. I have gone twice a week for four weeks and have seen improvement every week. First I got rid of the crutches and then very quickly moved into two shoes without too much trouble but I was walking with a terrible limp. getting rid of the limp has taken several weeks but I am walking fairly normally now. One piece of help was to elongate my stride. When you limp one step is shorter than the other because you don’t trust it. You have to focus on a similar length step to get rid of it. Elongating the stride helps. I still I elevate and ice almost every night. I don’t have any bad pain but I swell up and am sore at the end of a long day.

From that I have been working on conditioning, doing some cardio on an Arc trainer (similar to an elliptical but less vertical drop), strength with lots of rubber band work and step training on a raised board and now inverted leg lifts on a seated leg board. I fell better every trip and keep thinking I am out of the woods….

I have played golf (in the boot) and hit a tennis ball back and forth carefully and even shot some basketballs recently but no running, biking, jumping or fast lunging. I do a lot of gardening and yard work and am trying to stay active.

So my Doctor said I look great, my leg is working and I am ahead of the curve. Then he reminded me to go slow and that it will take 6 months to a year to get all the way back. I get that but I want to know what I can do now and how much I can push myself without the risk of re-injury.

So he said I can golf without the boot (good thing because I haven’t worn it in three weeks, and hope not to need it again) but to be careful and don’t push it and stay out of dangerous places.

He said I can ride a bike but don’t push your self up difficult hills where you have to get out of the seat and push hard with my legs.

He said I can start to use the elliptical but to work on that with my Physical Therapist.

He said I can hit a tennis ball back and forth but no running or lunging until I am comfortable running and that I shouldn’t start running for a while a month or two but that I can begin to fast walk and slowly build up to a little running straight and then maybe start doing turns and more difficult things.

He said I should even think about basketball, football, real tennis for a long time until I am all better like in 6 months to a year………

He said the key is to slowly and incrementally build on each steep and not be foolish and hurt myself by trying to do something I am not ready for.

So I am mostly happy with where I am at, that I can begin to do more and that I know I am getting better all the time. But the inability to do those things I love and did all the time before is difficult.

Next Dr. visit is at 6 months in Sept. so I am on my own (with PT continuing once a week for now) for several months, the whole summer really. Time to get busy…………….

Life post crutches getting better every day!

So when my Dr. said we need to start weaning you off crutches and evetually the boot, I said great. So I left the office and then when I got home I stopped using the crutches.  It was much easier than I expected.  I still gimped around but was crutch free basically May 10.  I still didn’t feel too comfortable standing too long but I started yard work.  I tilled my garden from a lawn chair. I went to PT Monday  May 13 and started with ankle motion front and back and side to side.  Still a lot of endema in my foot.  Retaining water from lack of use.  Still icing every night which helps a lot. A few days later I started the elastic stretching exercises.  All felt pretty good.  I started to take the boot off at night and to slowly walk without it in the safety of home.  Then on Saturday I decided to wear two shoes in my walk to get the newspaper down my driveway.  It worked! Seems like rehab is going really well and I am getting better every day.  Today I rode an exercise bike and did leg lifts.. I didn’t wear the boot most of the day but I am very careful.  I also went to a golf course and hit afew balls with the boot on.  That will be a work in progress.  But feeling pretty good about my progress.

Just back from 6 Week post op Dr. Visit….

I’m alive. I’m back. I can begin to start to think about really commencing with introductory preliminary  actual physical therapy and weight bearing and the road to recovery……

I’m pretty psyched!

Not that I thought the visit would be eventful or in any way surprising (which it was not) but I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders.

So I had been told to not bear weight until this visit.  As I had read from everyone else that was a slow approach.  I actually began to bear weight in the last week or so and began to drive and felt prtty good about where I was going.

Now the Dr. confirmed the logical next steps in my treatment:

1. I can begin (continue) weight bearing

2. I can start PT next week

3. I should begin to wean myself off the crutches

4. I can drive when I am able to have sufficient range of motion in my foot to be safe without the boot ( I have been driving with the boot and feel fine with it)

5. I should wear compression socks and elevate my foot for dealing with swelling.  He says ice doesn’t really help much at this point but I feel like it does so I will continue to use it.

 6. I should change the angle of my boot to zero - done!

Here is what he says I shouldn’t do:

1. Go for a run today - bummer….

2. Play golf soon - he doesn’t want me to play with a boot and says he is not concerned about the motion of a golf swing hurting me but that I could hurt myself by falling down in a sand trap or a gully.  He says I should use a cart at first and probably shouldn’t play until 12 weeks or so, when i am out of the boot, off the crutches and comfortable to walk safely.  I doubt I make it that long.  I’ll keep you posted.

3. Listen or ask for advice from bloggers who aren’t Doctors……

I feel like I have reached a new stage in the process or transforming form an injured, immoble, gimpy, whiny, shut in to a more active, more moble, participant in the still long road back to my normal life.

PT start Monday.

Cheers to that! 

6 Week Post Op Visit to Dr.

I am going to see my Dr. on Friday morning for my 6 week visit. This will be the fourth time I have seen him including the preliminary visit, the surgery, the 2 week post op visit and tomorrow. To date I have been surprised at how little information he has given me or advice on what I should be doing or not doing.

I have a long list of questions for him based on where I am at and where I want to be in the near future. Also this website has given me many ideas and concerns that I want to address as well.

Most importantly - can I begin weight bearing on my right leg?
Will I am be able to start physical therapy now? How often do I go and do I need to go three times a week if I can do the work at home?
What can I do at home? I have begun weightlifting and simple exercises but nothing on my right leg. Can I begin other physical activity such as exercise bike work, walking, kayaking, golf?
Should I be afraid of reinjury? I am not really a worrier but I also don’t want to be foolish. What is the biggest risk and what should I avoid?
My foot is often swollen at the end of the day and have been feeling pain. My wife says I must be doing too much. I don’t know what I am doing that I shouldn’t be doing. Is this normal? Should I put ice on it each night?
I recently ordered an ankel ice brace pack whihc seems like a good idea.
Can I sleep without the boot on?
Should I still be taking anti inflamatory medication? That really seems to help.
When will I realistically walk without crutches?
When will I be able to live somewhat more normally?

First Post

I was so happy to find the Achilles Blog site last week. I ruptured my achilles playing basketball on March 30 and was four week in when I found it. What a great resource for all for us and a way to share information and storys and help each other out. Big thanks to the team at Achilles Blog!

I hurt myself playing basketball on a beautiful Saturday where we decided to go outdoors and play in the sun. I was at the foul line and took a pass and turned hard to my right to begin to drive the lane for a lefty layup as is my signature move, and felt the baseball batt wack the side of my foot. I knew it was a rupture immediately.

I hate to admit that as a 50 year old male playing basketball twice a week for years, I have hurt myself many times. Many sprained ankles, cracked ribs, broken fingers and assorted bruises have come with the territory over the years. I even must have partially torn my achilles a few years back because the feeling of a baseball batt was the same, except this time it was much worse and I had no movement in my ankle.  The last time I let it heal and frankly had bad feet for about a year and half but thought it was my heal and never realized then it was my achilles. I must have healed sufficiently because I went back to basektball and didn’t have another setback until March 30.

I have had tweaks of course and even had felt some pain a week before and in the moments before my injury. So I have to wonder - had I stretched and torn my achilles so many times that it was ready to go and it was inevitable that I would rupture it eventually with my active lifestyle?  That is what I believe, and if that is so then I guess the sooner the better (hows that for positive thinking!) so I could have it repaired and get on the road to rehab and recovery because I intend to do everything I did before as soon as I am able.

For me that includes basketball, tennis, golf, running, triathalons, kayaking, hiking, weight lifting, biking, vigourous yardwork and I am a builder by trade so a lot of heavy lifting of building materials and equipment.

I have to admit the one thing I miss most right now is playing golf. I am an avid golfer and this is the time of year I am usually getting into it. I play a nine hole course every Tuesday afternoon with a group of guys at the Berlin, MA Country Club in MA from March to November and also play on weekends at the Causeway Club in Maine when I am up there in Southwest Harbor. I have been putting a little but certainly can’t play yet.  Let me know about tohers and when you were able to start playing and how it is going.

I wore a cast for two weeks and then went into the boot at 10 degree angle for four weeks. I go in for my six week check up this Friday and hope I get the go ahead to bear weight, start rehab and to drive.

I actually started driving last week and was throilled to get out fom being house bound or needing a driver to ride anywhere. My guys who work for me called it Driving Mr. Daisey……I did use my right foot which is the injured one and did feel some soreness after. I tend to get a lot of swelling if I do too much. I don’t really know how to not do too much………

I am interested in info on rehabbing and being able to do the things I love, even if it is a lot slower and more careful for a while.  thanks in advance for any commentsT

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