Nov 11

So it’s almost been 3 months since my injury.  Time has been flying by quickly!

It’s been great having normal shoes on full time now.  I still have a pretty noticeable limp since my right leg can’t fully dorsiflex yet and my right calf is still pretty atrophied compared to my left foot.  I really can’t complain though since life has been so much more normal the past 2 weeks compared to the last couple months.  Being able to drive again is so liberating!

Question to all the readers, how soon are you guys able to go down stairs with alternating legs?  My doc said that’ll happen much later since it requires quite a bit of dorsiflexion.

Happy healing everyone!

Oct 28

Cleared for 2-shoes outdoors!!!!

Which also means, DRIVING!!!!

BYE BYE, BOOT!  It’s been great, but I won’t miss you at all.

Oct 21

First of all, I finally got my disabled placard yesterday!  Yes, 9 weeks too late…  (Took a while to get the doctor’s signature since he is 1.5 to 2 hours drive away and scheduling a DMV appt took a while too)

In my last update, I mentioned going to neutral a week early.  Well, after 3 days of it, I felt a little Achilles pain, so I quickly switched back a 10 degrees lift.  After a week (week 8), I gave neutral another try and I’ve been in neutral for about a week now.  Feeling pretty comfortable in neutral now.  For those using the Vaco boot, switching between the 15 degrees wedge and the flat bottom is definitely a big jump.

Lastly, I JUST STARTED 2-SHOES INDOORS LAST NIGHT!!!  It felt a little weird to be in two shoes for the first time in over two months, but no pain, so I can’t complaint.  Making progress!

Happy healing everybody!

Oct 10

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Oct 08

I visited my doctor for a check-up today and got a couple pieces of good news!

He said my progress was good.  So far I’ve been pretty painless and almost no swelling.  My ROM is great too.  Because I am looking pretty good, he is allowing me to move towards neutral a week early!  AND I no longer have to wear the boot when I sleep.  AND if I feel pretty good in a week, I can be 2-shoes around the house!!!!

2-shoes in a week!  So excited!  (But also a little nervous too)

Hopefully everybody is doing well too.  Happy healing!

Oct 03

I just started FWB 3 days ago and it’s awesome to be able to use my hands again!  I think one of the best things with FWB is to be able to walk and use my phone at the same time! :)

The timing of FWB was impeccable.  We just had 80 people at our son’s 5th birthday party.  It was so great to be able to help with setting up, walking around the party, and cleaning up.  My heel felt a bit beat up after a day of standing, but otherwise I am feeling pretty good.

I was a little tentative to follow the schedule and go FWB AND down to -10 degrees (from -20), so I have myself at -15 degrees and I’ll inch down to -10 as the week progresses.

Happy healing everybody!

Sep 27

Just a quick update…

I just had my 2nd PT session yesterday.  We started working on my hips and lower back.  Some of the hip exercises felt awkward since I’ve never done those movements before.  For example, doing leg lifts on my stomach and side leg lifts inwards (toward other leg as opposed to way from body).  Also got on the bike for a 10 minutes.  It felt good to do some exercises.  The Achilles felt really good after the massage too.

After week and a half of PWB, my legs are feeling pretty ready for FWB!  In case I am a bit clumsy when I get back to FWB, I bought myself a cane.  Don’t want to risk falling down.  It seems like the #1 cause for re-rupture.

Happy healing everybody!

Sep 22

After waiting a month for my disabled placard, I finally got my… REJECTION!

I got rejected since I didn’t send in the original doctor’s signature.  So annoyed!

Sep 22

So I had my first PT visit today nearly 5 weeks after my injury.

He was completely shocked that I went the non-op route considering I had a complete rupture, I am still relatively young (35 y/o), and have an almost 5 year old son.  Totally making me second guess my decision.  :(  Hopefully I don’t regret it later….

Other than that, the session went pretty good.  I got a nice massage that loosened the tendon quite a bit.  It wasn’t painful at all!  I also learned from the PT that a complete rupture is actually less painful since all the nerves were also ruptured.  That’s a silver lining :)

Other than the massage, I did some VERY gentle exercises pushing my toes side to side and slightly up (not to stretch the Achilles at all).  Also picked up some marbles with my foot.

Sep 21

Hello fellow ATR-ers (is that a term?),

First of all, thanks to my friend, Gerry (fellow AchillesBlogger), for referring me to this great community!   So much great information here!  I trust my doctor very much, but it’s so nice to get the injur-ee’s personal, unfiltered POV on this site.  (sorry for making up words, my internal thesaurus isn’t on yet.  need more coffee…)

Anyways, very similar to many people here, I tore my Achilles playing basketball.  The cover story that I tell other people is that I tore it playing one-on-one with Kobe, but in reality, I just tore it playing … by myself. :(  That what I get for trying to be active.  You can’t win if you don’t play, but I guess you can’t lose if you don’t play either.

I’ve never broken any bones or tore any tendons in my life, but when it happened, I knew it was something bad.  Somehow I managed to drive myself home.  My wife took me to the ER and was splinted up right away.  I got a MRI the same day and was in a full cast by day 4.

I opted for no surgery for a couple reasons.  A) I am not really an athlete (anymore).  After my son was born, I rarely have time to workout.  Getting back to peak physical state was not necessary for my day job.  B) It sounds like the re-rupture rate for the non-op route has improved in the recent years with better rehab equipment (Vaco) and improved rehab process.  C) There’s no risks/complications that are associated with any surgery.  I am still long ways from full recovery, so time will tell whether or not non-op was a good decision.

After getting casted, I was in minimal pain if I keep my foot elevated.  Standing up for any period of time in the first couple days was excruciating!  The worst part of the cast is the ITCH!  I was very desperate.  One tip that I found off one of the Amazon reviews is to use the handles on kids beach buckets.  It’s long, thin, and flexible.  Perfect for getting in the cast for an itch relief.  Sani-cast is a $25 version of that on Amazon.  The thing that worked the best for me is CastCooler (  Basically you use your home vacuum to suck air through your cast, making your cast dry and comfortable.  It’s a bit overpriced at $40, but it works well.  It’s just a piece of plastic that ensures a tight seal.

I got bored at home, so I was back at work less than one week after the injury.  What I didn’t realize was everything at work was further.  Bathroom was further.  Water was further.  Food was further.  I was working up quite a sweat at work!  Everything seemed so far!

At first, I was sticking to crutches because I wanted to make the best out of the situation and strengthen my arms with the crutches.  After a week, I gave up.  It made no sense to make my body build up the arms when it should be focused on fixing the AT.  I ordered the “Deluxe Steerable Knee Walker Knee Scooter Knee Cycle Leg Walker Crutch Alternative in Blue” on Amazon (  I loved it!  It was so much faster to get around.  I can use my hands again.  The basket was very convenient for carrying stuff.  The brake cable was a bit long, so I fixed it with some Velcro ties.  Highly recommended!  Everybody at work was jealous of how fast I was going.  The security guards wanted to put up speed limit signs.

Two weeks after my injury, the doc cut open the cast to make sure the tendon reattached by itself (or else I would need surgery).  Everything looked good, so I was re-casted for two more weeks.  I asked my son what color I should get for my next cast and my son replied “rainbow”.  Fortunately, the doc was in a good mood (day before long weekend) and I got the rainbow cast.  It was a hit among the kids and my coworkers.

So fast forward two more weeks, recovery was going as planned.  Cast came off and on goes the Vaco cast.  It took a few days to learn how to walk again.  It’s not as fast as my knee scooter, but still nice to be able to stand on both feet again.  It’s also awesome to be able to clean my injured leg and SWIM!

I start PT tomorrow and one week away from FWB.  Making progress.  Hope everybody’s recovery is going ok!  I’ll update again soon.

elyliu’s AchillesBlog