Here are the photos I promised. My surgeon does a new technique (not the Achillon technique some have described). Its a traditional repair but he uses a transverse cut vs longitudinal cut.


Here is the 2 week mark (pic above):

4 weeks after surgery when my smaller case was removed. I went into the walking boot at this time.

4 weeks after surgery when my smaller case was removed. I went into the walking boot at this time.

Here is my 16 week photo. Very hard to see the surgical scar at this point! 16-weeks-post-op

16 weeks now….looking good

So I am now 16 weeks and 1 day s/p. I saw my surgeon this morning and everything seems to be going well. He has cleared me for all activity except for plyometrics, jumping, and jogging. I am very excited to get back into my gym and start some cardio training. I have not gained a lot of weight but feel just weak and out of shape due to the inability to do more intense cardio. I got a date with the elliptical machine tomorrow morning!

As for my progress, my ROM is good, I no longer get a tight or tension feeling along my scar when stretching (but it still feels bound down some), and I am getting closer to be able to do a standing heel raise. I have just now been able to do some eccentric work but get fatigue very fast. I can also take 2 steps while on my toes before my calf fatigues out and I end up just landing on my heel.

This has been a very long process but hard to believe 4 months has already gone by. My only real complaint is I still get moderate swelling towards the end of the day.

I hope everyone else is doing well.

Strength frustrations

Hey everyone:

Just a quick update. I am now 14 weeks s/p ATR and walking much better. I still get a limp and some pain/swelling towards the end of the day but my family, friends, and patients all comment on how my gait has improved. Swelling is not as severe as before but I still have a bad day here and there. I am using a compression sock now on my longer days at work to help control the swelling. Seems to be working some.

Just also wanted to see how others are doing and see if my strength is behind. I still have very little strength in my calf when trying to do a standing heel raise (I still can barely lift my heel off the ground and if and when it does, it may be 1/2″ and can only hold it for a millisecond). I am doing partial WBing heel lifts on a shuttle in therapy. The exercise bands are too easy for me now even with the really thick one pulled very tight. I know this is a long journey but just annoyed with how slow the calf strength comes back.

12 weeks

Hard to believe I am now at the 3 month mark. I am scheduled to see my surgeon tomorrow morning. Therapy is going well and I have regained almost 100% of my ankle motion. Only still feel some tugging at the incision site with stretching.

My intrinsic mm strength is much better but my calf still feels so weak. I will get the green light to start more calf specific strengthening after tomorrow so I am looking forward to that. Only other annoying thing is the swelling I still get. Part of it is my job as a physical therapist and being up on my feet for 10+ hrs. I bought a compression sock and that seems to be helping some. I am not a big pill taker but I have been taking more Advil regularly to help with the swelling. I am always amazed at how good my leg feels after my therapist massages all the swelling out.

I hope everyone is doing well!

First Day with 2 Shoes

First day at work with wearing two shoes vs the boot. Definitely a tight fit as I still have some swelling in the ankle. Feels good though to be at work without one pant leg up. I am getting pretty sore and I need to focus to have a more proper gait pattern.

Also started PT yesterday. It was very awkward being a patient at my own clinic. Guess just helps me better understand my own patients and how they feel. Felt awesome though after the edema massage and getting the joints moving. My ROM and flexibility is way ahead of schedule. Just felt so weak doing the resistance bands, single leg balancing, etc.

I still have my CAM boot as my doc said I may not make it the whole day the first week or two. I will do an ice treatment at lunch time to get the swelling down.

8 weeks and 1 day

Just got back from my surgeon’s office and I am doing great and ahead of schedule. I started in the boot with no lifts yesterday and honestly feel no difference at all. Swelling still mild to moderate and also still getting some peroneal nerve "tingles" down the lateral side of my foot from time to time. I know this is all normal and should go away with time.

Finally got my orders to start therapy. Luckily, doing what I do, I have some awesome colleagues to chose from. I will start next week with formal sessions in addition to what I have already been doing. Then in 2 weeks, if everything is feeling good, I can transition to two shoes.

Sadly, one of my assistants called me Sunday night after injuring his ankle while playing basketball. Sure enough, he did the exact same thing! And he is only 25 so definitely on the younger side for an Achilles tear. I actually saw him coming into my surgeon’s office this morning as I was leaving. He should have his surgery scheduled for tomorrow sometime. Luckily I will have a kneeling scooter, an evenup, and a few other things he can borrow. I know it has only been 2 months, but it feels like it has been so much longer since my surgery.

I hope everyone else is doing well on their journey. Looking forward to the long road ahead and eventually getting back to the gym and jogging again!

6 weeks and 2 days: down to one heel lift

I am now 1 1/2 months post surgery. Hard to believe it has been this long. I switched to just 1 heel lift in the boot yesterday and it feels almost the same. I am walking FWB now in the boot with no complications. I am still a little swollen but nothing Like I had expected. I have been working on my basic exercises (stretching the hips and quads, waking up the foot muscles with towel curls and trying to grap marbles). I feel like my dorsiflexion is good but my surgeon said that under no circumstances am I to stretch it.

I go down to no heel lifts next week and then see my surgeon again on May 21st. I am hoping to be able to wear a normal shoe at that point. I will also be cleared to start therapy as well at that time. My surgical scar is moving well also. Once I figure out how to post a picture I will do so since some of you had expressed interest in my surgeon’s technique. He does a small scar/incision right where the tear was versus the tradition cut going up from your heel.

I hope all is well with the rest of you. Really starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just wish that tunnel was not in the Fall but I can’t complain so far.

5 weeks and 3 days: using the evenup

OK… the evenup has got to be one of the best inventions. I started using it today and man what a difference. Now that I am putting a normal amount of weight into my right leg (still have the boot and 2 heel lifts), I was getting some low back pain which I knew was do to being uneven. The evenup went on my shoe very easily, feels pretty stable, and I am actually walking better now with less deviations in my gait.

I am now going without crutches for short walks (i.e. from the car to my office, in the house, etc) but still using my scooter for when I am up and about for longer periods of time.

Amazing how my mind switches gear from: holy crap surgery it tomorrow –> surgery went well but I am sore –> getting better with my crutches but this cast sucks –> I miss the cast, weight bearing in my boot hurts like hell! –> getting used to weight bearing partially –> I am actually walking again!

Quite the journey in just a little over 5 weeks. Now I am going to be anxious to get 1 less heel lift and then eventually walk with just the boot.

Day 6 in the CAM boot

My progress took a much needed "step" this past weekend. I think my scar tissue and calf increased in length a little. I am now able to partially walk in my CAM boot and no longer am getting that horrible stretch/burn sensation at my surgical site. This comes as a great relief as I thought I would be in pain for much longer trying to transition from life in a cast to life in the boot.

I did notice though increase right sided low back pain. I am assuming this is due to the size of the CAM boot making a leg length difference and also the weight of it. I did purchase an "evenup" and will try that out starting tomorrow. Hopefully that will take some of the tension off of my back.

2 Days into the CAM boot

So, doing much better than I was on Weds. I think my foot and leg got a major shock being out of the cast for the 1st time. Weds night was pretty horrible with a lot of swelling and pain. Luckily though some elevation, ice, Advil, and getting one of my staff therapists to massage some of the swelling out helped a ton.

I have been practicing my weight shifts in the boot (with my 2 lifts) and working on a normal ankle rocker with walking using the curve on the boot. I am guessing I am only at 25-30% BW right now since I still put a lot of weight into my crutches. Feels good though to do the motion of walking. However, when I try to "push it" a little, I get a massive burn/pain right along my incision site. I have a feeling it is due to the technique my surgeon used. Instead of the traditional long cut along the side of the Achilles from the heel and up, my surgeon used a new technique where he just makes a small incision perpendicular to the tendon where it tore (I will try and post a link to a picture I took). Good thing is minimal scarring after surgery. Bad thing is my scar runs horizontal so I am sure it stretches/burns like crazy when I stretch it a little.

I confirmed it in that if me knee is bent and my leg is resting (i.e. cross my legs), I can put my ankle into a neutral position (or zero degrees or dorsiflexion) with almost no discomfort. However, with my leg straight, it is very difficult to even come close to neutral positioning and all the burning/pain is at the incision site. Hopefully my steri strips will fall off soon and I can start some scar tissue mobilization to get my skin to move better.