It was over one year ago that I got my ATR and surgery. It’s hard to believe how much has transpired over the past one year and also how fast time has passed. I remember been cooped up at home after the surgery and watching the leaves turn color and fall to the ground … and that’s what I see out the window right now. Overall, it was a challenging year, but all-in-all I have grown quite a bit over the time and understand that He has his purpose in it all.
I went to visit the doctor 2 weeks back for my 1 year check up. I walked around, and did some leg lifts. We mostly chatted and the doctor said that I could do any exercise that I felt comfortable with. He said that probably my body’s healing style probably produces more scar tissue, so the area around the tendon will slowly thinnen over time. Doctor reminded me that the strand he used to tie the tendons was still in my body and that I would need surgery if I really wanted it out — obviously, I wouldn’t want to do surgery just to take it out.
Last weekend was the first time that I played basketball since my ATR. I went to a retreat and played some 3 on 3 basketball on Saturday afternoon. I didn’t push things too much — mostly not hustling as much as I should on defense, but I was able to run around, dribble, and most importantly score some points.
It was nice to be back on the court. I felt some minor twitches in my achilles, I’m not sure if it’s some mental thing or if its the stitches, the scar tissue or the tendon — but when I felt something like that, I would slow down a bit.
Also had a chance to play some bump (aka knock-out) as well — it was actually a bit strenous as I was one of the last people in one game and I wanted to win badly. I had to do a bit of planting as I ran back to the foul line to shoot quickly … but everyone turned out fine.
I completed my last PT session last Thurs. It was a momentous occasion after going every week for nearly 3-4 months. I felt an extra burst of energy during my last session and was so excited to finish up, that I brought some cookies for the PT.
After last PT session
I am more or less normal in using my right foot, but there’s still a psychological barrier of not wanting to push myself too much. These were some of the accomplishments / exercises that I did:
- Single leg lifts - my right foot can be raised as much as my other foot — ~ 3 inches
- Total gym single leg lifts
- Hopping on the agility ladder (see below) on the ground - I’ve been doing this for a while, it was really helpful at first, but now its mostly cardio-vascular exercise for me
- Stair master
- Practicing jumping 1 foot off both feet — this is the one exercise where I can still feel a noticeable difference between the 2 feet — it is a much more explosive exercise, so will require more practice
- Hopping on 2 feet - side to side, front to back
- Agility Ladder
I will be seeing my doctor this week, so hopefully, he’ll confirm that I’m OK and ready to do any exercise. I’ve tried to still continue stretching because my right foot still feels more stiff than the other foot.
Thank you for all your support!
I haven’t posted an update in a few months. I’ve basically been slowly building up the strength in my right foot with PT and doing exercises at home. Currently my status is about 90%. The limp is almost gone and I am nearly able to do a 1 leg calf raise on my right foot as high as the left foot. Thank you for your prayers and support.
These are some of the exercises that I’ve been doing — that have been particularly helpful
- One leg calf raises at home and with the PT
- Fast steps over the floor ladder
- Walking around on my toes - starting out with 1 step at a time - this really helped me transition to get enough strength to really start doing the 1 foot calf raises. Otherwise the 1 foot calf raises were either too hard or too easy when I put my hands on something.
Thanks alot for your support. Best of luck in your recover!
BTW: I had one question for other ATRer’s — What solution did you use to keep your boot (CAM) from getting your home or bed dirty?
Its week 11.5 today and I went to visit the doctor for the most important visit. The doctor gave me the go-ahead to use regular shoes and to put away the boot — yeah!
The doctor flexed the foot around and asked me to walk around with my shoes on. He said that everything looked good, and that I just need to build up some strength in the right foot. He said that the test would be whether I could do calf raises on the one foot (100% of my weight) — which at this point, I can only do about 40-50% of my weight on the right foot.
Doctor gave the ok to start driving, once I felt comfortable — he said that if a little girl ran in front of my car, and I could move the foot to press on the break quickly enough, then I would be ready for driving … I’ll practice in a parking lot before I head out to the streets (hopefully, I didn’t scare anyone living in Chicago).
The one hurdle for me is the fact that the weather in Chicago is really bad now … there is snow, slush and ice. So I’ll probably wear the boot around for a while and easy into the winter driving.
I’ll continue with my PT sessions till the middle of Jan. The doc said that I don’t have to go if I can do most of the exercises on my own.
Yippee … freed from the boot! Thank God.
My 8 weeks post-op happens to fall on thanksgiving today, I feel as though I have much to be thankful for.
First of all, I am thankful for friends on achillesblog.com who have offered their experience and help. It as been very helpful and encouraging. Since my last post, I have moved from partial weight bearing to full weight bearing. It was a big step to be able to throw aside the crutches and limp around with the boot. The only challenge here has been a sore heel after longer walks.
On the physical therapy front, there are the exercises that I’ve been working on:
- Cycling without my boots
- Total gym calf raises (with about 20% of my weight)
- Parallel bar exercises in shoes
- Thera-band exercises for balance on the right foot
Have a wonderful thanksgiving!
This is the 2nd week of partial weight bearing for me. I’m getting used to the foot work with the crutches. For now, I’m stilling using 2 crutches so that I don’t get too tired or sore injured just using one crutch, but at times, I try to just put one crutch down (the left one).
Anyone know whether you are putting too much weight on the foot? My foot feels a bit sore around the ankles after I try to put a bit more weight on the foot, so I’ll then ice it down. How much should or shouldn’t it hurt?
I went to see the doctor yesterday and the doctor gave the green light to start on partial weight bearing (PWD). The doctor checked out the wound, rubbing alcohol on it, and then felt to see whether the tendon felt good (though I’m not too sure what there is to feel). He said I could start putting a bit of weight on the right foot, while still using the crutches. Hopefully, I eventually get to using just one crutch by late next week.
I am trying now to re-figure out how to use the crutches now while putting a bit of weight on the right foot. The areas around my ankle felt a bit sore last night after spending some time trying to put a bit of weight on the right foot. My PT says that this is normal, as I start putting more weight and start stretching parts of the food. I am now doing isometric exercises — pushing against something (for now a pillow against a wall). The PT measured my foot and the swelling around the ankles went down — hopefully the swelling won’t go up too much as I start to put more weight on the foot. PT said that I may be using a stationary bike with the boot in a few weeks.
Overall, PWD is a good thing, it keeps me from hopping around as much as I used to when I didn’t have my crutches. At least I can put my right foot down and use it for balance.
Right Foot Almost 5 Weeks
My wife was pleasantly surprised today saying to me, “I weighed myself today and I seem to have lost 5+ pounds”. It was then that I realized, that all my screams for help, to fetch water, to carry my stuff, … have helped her lose weight during this period. So I told my wife that I’ll be sure to continue to be bossy afterwards to help her stay fit (just kidding)
Last night was my first night sleep with the new CAM boot on and I did not sleep well. At night, I had put the velcros on the boot all snug — I was thinking that this would protect the wound and the tendon more.
However, I tossed and turned during the night and did not sleep well, because my foot got too hot in the boot — the compression sock they gave me did not help. At one point, my foot even felt a bit numb :( Finally, I decided to take off the boot, and redo the velcos much more loosely. However, my spouse did not appreciate the loud velcro sounds in the middle of the night waking her up.
So I guess ATR is a good diet plan but not a good sleeping pill.
Today was the 2nd doctor visit after the surgery. They removed my cast. The nurse had this saw like device that cut the hard part of the cast off. I didn’t spend too much time with the doctor, since this was another doctor in the office — I will try to schedule something when my doctor gets back from time off. I was afraid the nurse might accidentally cut too deep and cut into my skin, especially when she ran the saw along the area where the incision was; however, all turned out safe and fine. She then slowly cut and removed all the padding. The nurse briefly looked at the would to see if it was ok, and then gave me the CAM boot. The CAM boot was set at a maximum of 0 degrees (foot at right angle to lower limb) … and it could flex down about 45 degrees.
Two feet and injury after cast removal
The boot makes me feel like a robot because it has some dials and metal parts to it — I thought it might look a little less intimating.
A few hours later, we went to our first physical therapy (PT) session. The PT was friendly and walked me back to the room, where she proceeded to ask a number of background questions … how did you get the injury, how often do you exercise, do you stretch (i.e., should have stretched more ) , what are your goals.
She then proceeded to look at the wound to see if it was OK and take measurements of the movement in both the good and injured foot. Then the PT rubbed the incision area to loosen up the scar tissue … I guess this helps in the healing. After that the PT did some passive movement of my foot to see where it was at in terms of flexibility and strength and to start working the foot. She said that I was at the right pace (I think from the flexibility) … I was thinking that I may be a bit faster on the recovery.
At the end of the session, she put a compression sock on the injury to help with the swelling and she gave me a sheet with some exercises I can do daily.