One Year!!!

Hello Achilles Community!

I can’t believe its been a year already since my injury and surgery. I remember the days of being NWB very well and all I could think about at that time was how I wanted time to fly by so I could return to my daily routine. Days seemed liked eternity even though it was nice just laying low and watching movies.

I’m thrilled to report that life is pretty much back to normal at the one year mark for me. Since I was on a very conservative protocol following surgery with 6 weeks of NWB and didn’t get into two shoes until around 12 weeks, it took me a while to recover. I was sad that I couldn’t really resume running at the six month mark as I expected but I kept up with my physical therapy to build back my calf and can finally jog once again. My heel raises are not equal but I’m hoping with time they get better. I was a little nervous about skiing a few weeks ago but all went well and its definitely good to be back to “normal.”

This community was a huge help to me during the first few weeks of my injury. I am very thankful to all the people on here with valuable advice and support. Its nice to check in from time to time and see other people making progress as well.

As others have already pointed out, the worst part of all this is just at the beginning but life gets a lot better as time goes on and things heal up. Hope everyone here stays happy and healthy…


Overcoming the plateau at seven months…

Friends, Romans, and Fellow ATR bloggers,

Don’t be fooled by my lack of posting updates because I still regularly visit this website a few times a week. Its great seeing updates from everyone and the progress that everyone is making. It’s also helpful for me to read some old blogs for reference and advice.

After having surgery almost six and a half months ago for a sudden ATR while playing football, my life is finally returning to normal. Although I tried to do everything right (getting surgery within 48 hours of my injury, buying a vacocast on my own since my ortho was not familiar with it, being diligent with PT for almost five months, and careful about being incremental), it has still taken me this long to get my gait almost right. I say almost because it’s still a little off in the morning and as I get tired. And to echo Kellygirl, also when I’m barefoot. I finished up PT a couple of weeks ago and have been doing some powerwalking the treadmill and hitting the exercise bike quite often. Its hard to do it everyday with two little kids in our house and working full time.

I have finally learned that you cannot speed up the body’s way of healing and that we all heal differently and don’t have the exact same injury. I was dejected last month and posted here because I thought that hitting that magical six month mark would mean that I would be back to running, jumping, and back 100% but it really is a yearlong recovery at least in my case. I am thankful to all the advice I got at that time and it kept me motivated to remain patient and diligent with my daily exercises. I take a few more days off from exercise now and the rest has made a difference. My PT pointed out that one of the reasons for my gait being off was a very weakened tibialis posterior and since I have focused on strengthening it, things have become better. In fact, I can finally get my heel 1cm off the ground! I just realized I could do this yesterday and I am just ecstatic about this accomplishment. Once I can get it off the ground a little more, I hope to start a running program.

As many others have pointed out in this community, it’s really hard to rebuild the strength you lose from being immobilized. In retrospect, I do wish I had a more accelerated protocol so that I didn’t have to do the 6-8 weeks of NWB leading to so much atrophy and consequently prolonged recovery but that is what I was told to do at the time. I also wish I had moved a little faster on my own from PWB to FWB and two shoes instead of really taking my time with it but oh well. I also realize that having surgery does not lead to faster recovery…at least in my case.


Discouraged at Week 22

Even though its been a while since I’ve posted, I feel like I have not made much progress over the past six weeks. My surgery was on February 19th and everything has gone smoothly. I started PT at week 8 and have been doing it ever since and pretty good about doing daily heel lifts, exercise bike, and some other home exercises. I occasionally hit the pool and also do the treadmill 2-3 times a week.

I’m getting frustrated to almost be at the six month mark and still be limping. The main problem is trying to toe off to support most of my body weight which I still cannot do completely. Its a slight limp but its still there and only gradually improving. I have full ROM and its mainly an issue of strength. I really don’t think I have healed long.

I still cannot do a single heel lift. I cannot even get my heel off the ground! I have been making some progress trying to walk on my toes and very slowly feel the strength coming back. I can do more on the leg press machine now than I could a few weeks ago and continue to do two up one downs four to five times a day.

I didn’t start wearing two shoes comfortably until week 12 so I probably developed significant atrophy. I’m a healthy 33 year old weekend athlete and thought by now I would be running and jumping and back to normal but I am definitely not there yet. I understand that it takes six months TO A YEAR for full recovery and so I just need to keep exercising at home and be patient but when this first happened I was thinking, “OK, only six months and I will be back to normal!” but in my case that is not true.

Its been helpful and encouraging to read everyone’s blogs and progress on this site and it definitely keeps me motivated. I try not to compare myself to others so I don’t get frustrated. Its funny because I thought going the operative route would help me get back on my toes faster (pun intended) but I don’t think that is true.

Please chime in if you have any words of wisdom or advice!


Fourteen weeks: almost walking normally again!

Greetings ATR world. Hope the healing is going well for everyone.

Its so interesting for me to read about the new members joining this club because it felt like yesterday I ruptured my tendon and had surgery even though its been fourteen weeks already and life is slowly getting back to normal. Looking back, the NWB phase for me was the most depressing and difficult for obvious reasons. It lasted six weeks for me and felt like eternity. In comparision, the transition to PWB over two weeks (I could have done it in less time but followed doctors orders) and then into two shoes seemed to fly by and made life so much more interesting.

I have finally discontinued the heel lifts I had in my shoes and even though at first it made me start limping a little again, my gait has steadily improved. If I walk fast or feel tired, I still find myself with a limp but hopefully it will go away soon. I’m not comfortable walking barefoot a lot so I try to stick to my new balance running shoes or crocs as much as possible.

These days its been all about strengthening and rehab. I usually do PT twice a week with leg presses, heel raises, the stairmaster (sigh), treadmill, and of course a variety of stretches. At home, I try to do the exercise bike daily and have been increasing both the time and resistence incrementally. The tendon remains stiff in the morning but its getting much better. My ROM has also improved significantly but it will definitely take some time to get all the strength back and do proper heel lifts. For now, I am just happy to be able to do the things I used to do with my kids again (two year old and a six month old).

This injury has given me a lot of perspective on things and has been incredibly humbling.

Still working hard to come back stronger!


10 Week Update

So I’m about to start week eleven tomorrow but thought I would post an update about my progress. I’m spending more and more time in two shoes which is nice and liberating but I’m also moving at a snails pace. Even though I can walk much faster with my foot turned out, I am trying hard to take small strides with the normal gait but its still very difficult because my dorsiflexion is still at five degrees and I really need about ten degrees. My two-year-old loves to create an obstacle course for me at home so I still wear the boot sometimes at home and at work.

With physical therapy, I have been doing the red theraband and some more stretching exercises. I got an exercise bike last week and its also been very helpful. I am hoping to start working on more balance exercises soon but they want me to wait until week 12 to have more strength and to be standing more on my bad leg. Mornings are still rough because my gait is really bad until I get a few decent stretches done.

I wanted to ask if anyone here has experience with a night splint for plantar fascitis. I think my mornings are rough because my foot becomes plantar flexed in bed all night (especially since I sleep on my side), and I am wondering if wearing the splint to keep it in neutral all night would help. I suppose I could go back to wearing the boot at night but am really hoping to avoid that again.

Happy healing everyone. I think one of the best aspects of this site is that you can read and interact with people at all different stages of healing and learn so much and get perspective. Its really helped me a lot. To those reading this post that are still NWB…hang in there because life get much better pretty soon and slowly starts to return to normal! Over the weekend I finally helped set up a swing set for my kids, cleaned the house, did some yardwork, etc and I don’t think I have ever been as excited to be able to do it!


2 Shoes! 2 Shoes!

Just starting post op week nine and very excited to be wearing two shoes indoors. After the difficult transition from the wedge sole to the flat sole (probably because my foot was plantar flexed without any ROM for about 7 weeks), it was easier than I expected. I got a heel lift from amazon and gel heel cup for comfort and so far so good. Just taking baby steps with a limp around the house and in the hallways at work for a few hours a day but its finally some light at the end of the tunnel! As of yesterday’s PT appointment, my foot is finally back at neutral.

My conservative protocol does not allow any resistance or calf strengthening exercises until next week so I’m still using just the yellow theraband and doing seated heel lifts in addition to some other exercises with PT. The BAPS board has been a nice new addition.

I see my surgeon on Monday and am hoping to be out of the boot full time at that time. I love ryanb’s motorcycle helmet analogy and hope to be as careful as possible during this time. I also can’t wait to start driving my manual 6spd car again…hopefully this weekend. I just bought an exercise bike for home use as well and am really looking forward to starting that with some incremental resistence starting next week.

I welcome any advice and insight anyone has to share! Thanks again everyone…


Any advice for getting into two shoes from Vacocast?

I’m really excited to be on post op week seven.  I’ve been FWB for a few days now and its feels great to be off crutches!  My gait still needs a lot of work and I take a lot of small steps but I’m definitely enjoying the freedom.

After surgery, I was in a splint for two weeks and then went into the Vacocast.  I was NWB for six weeks.  Unfortunately, no one here is familiar with the Vacocast so I have been adjusting it on my own.  After starting at fixed 30 degrees PF, I went down by 5 degrees each week until I reached 10 degrees last week.  As I started to wean off the crutches, I opened up the hinge to allow 5-30 degrees PF with the big wedge sole.  I tried the flat sole last night and it was too uncomfortable.  My foot is still not near neutral and is probably around 10 degrees of PF at rest.

Whats the best way to transition to the flat sole and then into two shoes?  Should I keep my foot fixed at 5 degrees or neutral first?  I like keeping it hinged with the ROM because its so much easier to walk but wanted to ask for any helpful guidance.

I’m also wondering when I can try to stand up on two feet barefooted.  It would be really nice to stand up to shower again!

I just got back from an overseas trip so I will be starting more active PT on Monday and I’m hopeful that will help me with the transition.

I hope we all come back stronger…including Kobe Bryant!


Thank you to everyone on this site

Hello Achilles World!

Its taken me forever to create my blog but with my first post I just wanted to thank everyone on this website.  The links, information, and blogs have really helped me with my recovery from an unexpected ATR. I especially want to thank normofthenorth, ryanb, kkirk, and alton2012uk for sharing their experiences, pictures, and even videos.

I’m a 32 year old fairly conditioned “weekend warrior” and suffered my ATR while playing football on February 17, 2013 .  I was lined up as wide receiver and when I started to sprint, I heard the dreaded “pop” and immediately turned out to see who kicked me. Then it was RICE until seeing the orthopedic surgeon after the weekend.  I actually ended up getting an MRI which demonstrated a complete tear and a 3.5 cm gap.  I’m really glad I got the MRI because seeing it myself made the decision to have surgical repair a littler easier to swallow.

This injury hit me pretty hard.  We were out of town when it happened and have a two year old and a three month old so its made things very challenging very quickly for my wife.  I felt so helpless at first and the loss of independence made me frustrated.  Its my right leg so not being able to drive has been depressing.  But this injury has brought me closer to my family, friends, religion and taught me slow down and appreciate the small things in life.   It took  a second for me to realize that this is only a temporary setback and like hitting the “pause” button on life.  I’m going to work harder than ever to come back stronger.

One of the most frustrating things about this injury and rehab is the wide variety of protocols.  By reading about various studies and protocols as well as the experiences others have had, I have learned so much so quickly.  My doctor is in the more conservative group although I reviewed the UWO protocol with him.  Based on my specific surgical repair and injury, he recommended 6 weeks of NWB.  I am now on post op week five and doing active ROM, gentle massaging, and really looking forward to PWB next week.  I just went from 20 to 15 degrees of plantar flexion in the vacocast.  The vacocast has been incredible and the best purchase I ever made even thought I have a love/hate relationship with it especially at night.

Once again, a big thank you to everyone on this blog and I look forward to being an active member of this community!  Happy healing everyone!


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ATR Timeline

  • Name: eyechilles
    Location: New Orleans
    Injured during: Football
    Which Leg: R
    Status: 2-Shoes

    537 wks  3 days Post-ATR
    537 wks  1 day
       Since start of treatment

  • eyechilles has completed the grueling 26.2 ATR miles to full recovery!
    Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
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