Day 27 Post-Tear, Day 16 Post-Surgery

Hard cast off and into a boot w/ heel lift to approx 15-20% plantar flextion. Haven’t had any real pain, mostly just minor annoyances.  It’s  amazing the calf atrophy in my left leg compared to my right. I’ve got one chicken leg and one with some beef on it.

It is really  nice not to have something stuck to my leg and I’m really looking forward to taking a shower and washing my left leg and foot for the first time in 16 days! Also sleeping hopefully will be alot easier.

It was encouraging to hear my doctor say “Wow, it’s almost totally healed, thats amazing.” So, I go back in 11 days to see how the progress continues and hopefully can go to no lift and begin putting pressure on it.

I’ve pretty much been able to do everything I normally would now and consider myself an expert on navigation with crutches. Surprisingly the time has gone relatively quickly compared to how I believed it would be.

Day 20 Post-Tear, Day 9 Post-Surgery

Today I went in to visit the Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Joshua Nadaud of Mid County Orthopaedics in St. Louis MO, for the first post-op check up. I had been in a split with soft cast to date and was hoping to be able to go to a boot and be more mobile.

Dr. Nadaud’s Nurse Practioner (very cute), removed the soft cast and splint and it was weird seeing my leg for the first time in a week. The incision was very small and minimally invasive. It was healing well. I thought I would want to move my foot and leg, but it really was fine just dangling there doing nothing.

I could press down, left & right with no pain. Dorsi-flexing the foot on the other hand was about impossible due to lack of muscle strength. When manually manipulated it hurt like a MF’er. My attempts at looking fine were betrayed by my facial expression.

My hopes of getting a boot were dashed, likely b/c I am very active and they probably know I would have tried to do something I should not have and that possibility had them opt for a hard cast.

I have never had a cast, so my mind was thinking a big cumbersome plaster thing. There I was pleasantly surprised as a light weight fiberglass mesh material was used. It is actually lighter and more manueverable than the soft cast was.

The foot is plantar-flexed to maybe 5-10% and is not painful at the moment. I am to go back in one week to have this removed and then hopefully go to the boot then. I will have to be more believable in my comments about not doing anything stupid or trying to go to fast.

At least w/ the hard cast I am more confident of being mobile b/c if I have to fall or put some minor pressure on the cast I’m not worried about re-tearing it. Tomorrow I may venture to the gym and begin to resume doing upper body weights and some core work.

Day 18 Post-Tear, Day 7 Post-Surgery

Here are the Top 10 things I learned so far… This has been a good exercise in humbling myself:

1. I keep a large backpack close, that way I can move things around the house on my back when using crutches.  Otherwise moving things on crutches is mostly impossible. I can kick some things down the hall, but anything large or heavy must go in the backpack.

2. Thankful I was in good shape before this b/c getting around to do normally easy things is difficult. If I has been out of shape, overweight or had other health issues I would likely have been stuck in bed.

3. I hate asking people to do things for me, and I hate asking people to do normal things for me even more.

4. Thinking about buying diapers for my dog b/c he only has to pee/poop when I am lying down or sleeping.

4a. Thinking about buying adult diapers b/c I only have to pee/poop when I am lying down or sleeping. Problem being I have no one to change my diapers!

5. I have all hardwood flooring, so I use a rolling office chair to move around in lieu of crutches to do some things.

6. I am glad this happened in winter and outside doesn’t look all that appealing to leave the house and do anything.

7. I took no opiate painkillers and am glad. The pain was not what I would call “pain”, more so annoying. Not worth risking a Brett Favre or Rush Limbaugh to avoid a few days of discomfort.

8. My right leg is going to be so much stronger now, when I first start to walk I will likely just go in circles.

9. Driving is fine since I hurt my left leg… Road vibrations are not so fine, potholes suck.

10.  I am extremely happy for my overall health and have a greater empathy for people with true disabilities and the challenges they face in everyday life.

Intro Post

January 3rd I tore my left Achilles completely while running.

I had ran track in high school and college. I ran the 100, 200 & 800 in high school and also long & high jumpers. I was All-State multiple times. In college I ran my senior year (2000) 60 & 200 indoor and 200 & 400 outdoor.

I only ran my senior year bc I was on a Soccer Scholarship and had to be at spring season which conflicted with the track season.

After college I picked up cycling and then swimming, which led to competing in Triathlons. I completed the Ironman Triathlon  (2002) and then represented amateur Team USA 3 times at the long-course World Championships (’2002 - 2004)

While I was racing I coached college Cross-Country and Track and high school soccer.  During track season I would run with my athletes in meets that allowed open entries. Then I would run anywhere from the 1500 to 10k.

In 2005 real life snuck up and coaching & triathlon were not paying the bills. Ever since then I have been in & out of shape, with no specific competitive goals. I hiked a lot  and got to hike the Grand Canyon twice.

This year I decided to make some calls to volunteer to coach high school track. I also decided I wanted to do something competitive and was interested in racing the local Master’s track series.

To prepare I had began running on the basketball court at the gym I go to. I started with 20-30 minutes of light warm-up and running / flexibility drills. Then would do various length accelerations to get the feel of going fast back.

The  day of the tear  I had walked on the treadmill 10 minutes and lifted weights for 45 minutes, focusing on back & triceps in super sets. I would work in core / abs in between exercises.

I did 20-30 minutes of warm up running drills, light plummet tics as then was running shot accelerations. My sprint start was really rusty, so I was trying to get that quick burst back. I did 10 cross-court accelerations and felt good.

I then ran laps where I would jog the short side and accelerate the long side of the basketball court. I was going to do 10 laps and made it to lap 8, where I turned left, accelerate and then felt like I tripped over something and then stepped into a hole.

I looked back in surprise to see what was on the court and then fell over. There was zero pain, which was really odd  I thought and then probably really bad. I had my iPhone w me bc I was running w Pandora on. I googled Achilles Tendon tears and it read word-for-word to what happened.

It didn’t really set in until a few days later when I met with the Orthopedic Surgeon and he confirmed what I thought. Pre-surgery I was able to get around ok with a large heel lift in my left shoe. I debated for surgery or not for a few days. Then I saw and learned about Michael Crabtree from the 49ers and his surgery recovery.

January 13th I had the surgery and am now on Day 6 in a soft cast. As much as I have been bored, frustrated and annoyed; this really has not been as bad as my fears were.

Reading some of the other blogs and about professional athletes recoveries has been a great way to keep my spirit up and kill some of the large amount of downtime. Thanks to everyone on here and if you just tore your Achilles know you can and will make it through!