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.

8 Responses to “Overcoming the plateau at seven months…”

  1. 1 spacemonkey September 6, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Good update, I have been working hard in the Gym even though I am still in the boot. Research shows that unless you specifically work on the ‘wasted’ muscle you will most likely end up with the limb being weaker than the non injured one. Just going back to what you did before will in most cases not balance things up…

    When you are used to running and cycling spending an hour doing weights for me is purgatory. Your PT seems to be getting you results and in the world of sport, there is always something we could be doing better, if there wasn’t it’d be boring…

    I ruptured my Achilles playing football too, however in the version of football I played we don’t pass the ball with our hands ;-)

    Very best wishes for the rest of your recovery!!

  2. 2 Nicky September 7, 2013 at 5:32 am

    Don’t regret. You have done brilliantly.
    No re rupture and making progress.
    A lot of the atrophy occurs straight away anyway.
    Everyone recovers at different rates and in the grand scheme of things there is not a huge difference between 6 and 12 months.
    Well done!

  3. 3 superjewgrl September 7, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Hi! Excellent post. You have all the right ingredients to long term success, a great attitude and grit! I agree 100% with your sentiments, and I also agree with Nicky. Don’t regret.

    I’m in my early 40’s and this was my first injury. Ever. Initially I went the non-op route and my first day in the boot I reruptured because my wedge wasn’t affixed to the boot. Then I had surgery and in a cast for 6 weeks at NWB (but I cheated and walked in my cast) and now I’m in a boot for 5 more weeks. BTW, I also bought a vacocast. I had a lot of ambivalence about my protocol, and it’s still something I think about a lot. But had I not re-ruptured then, I most likely would have anyway. I had no comprehension on what a serious injury this is, I am not a play it safe kind of girl, and I sort of thought I would be a super human healing and wouldn’t have the same experience as everyone else. (silly right?) I’m grateful I re-reruptured because it has led to me transforming and learning some hard lessons.

    Congrats on your success!

  4. 4 kkirk September 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Sounds good to me. The most amazing thing I’ve realized is the improvement in my endurance (before fatigue and pain) in the last 2-3 months. Basically you can’t slack off on your routine of (PT/exercise).

    I second your comment on 6-8 NWB. THe doc kept me NWB for 7 weeks because of the chronic nature of my ATR and subsequent V-y lengthening procedure, but it’s taken 10 months to build back my calf strength. Being NWB for that long effects the entire leg and the atrophy battle is extended quite a bit. I still have a deficit of strength and power between my two calves, but I can do all the activities as well as I used to. I can easily jump as good as I used to :)

    Happy healing and Congrats on your recovery.

  5. 5 normofthenorth September 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Eyechilles, it all sounds good, smart, and right to me. I see more “lessons learned” than “regrets”, the former being life-enhancing, the latter being a waste of breath.

    SJG, you are welcome not to regret the professional error that caused your rerupture — do what you gotta do to stay sane and make it through the day — but I sure regret it. You were doing very well with a good proven treatment until that happened, IMHO. Somewhere there’s a parallel universe where your heel pads were stuck down properly, so we can find out how it turned out…

  6. 6 superjewgrl September 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Norm…. Don’t get me wrong, I was mad as hell. I understand the legal ramifications for them to apologize, but how about offering me another boot. It’s still rather painful for me not to be apart of the non-op success. I’m rather grateful for this learning experience, so I’ve moved beyond my anger, and hopefully in another 4 1/2 weeks, my relationship with my OS will come to an end. If only I could’ve taken you with me to my appointments. :)

  7. 7 eyechilles September 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Just wanted to thank everyone for their support and feedback! I’m still hitting the gym at least three times a week and can slowly see the improvement in my gait and heel lifts. I’m still not up for running yet but should be there in a month…

  8. 8 kellygirl September 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    @Eye: I don’t know where my comment went (it said it was awaiting moderation?)but congrats on your progress! Let us know when you start running! I want to hear about that milestone too! Take care :)

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ATR Timeline

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

    386 wks Post-ATR
    385 wks  5 days
       Since start of treatment

  • eyechilles has completed the grueling 26.2 ATR miles to full recovery!
    Goal: 365 days from the surgery date.
    Achilles NYC Marathon Course Sidebar Image

    Click here for the Group Marathon Tracker

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