The Journey Has Begun

Posted on December 28th, 2008 in Uncategorized

Since the moment I stole a pass during the pickup basketball game on November 16th, 2008 I’ve been on the road to recovery.  The thing is I don’t know how long it will actually take.  I was  on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas and during the “Day at Sea” I decide to play some hoops.  I was probably the oldest guy on the court (mid-forties) and holding my own among the twenty-somethings when there it went.  The classic symptoms.  The popping feeling in the back of the ankle, the feeling that someone just hit me in the back of my leg with a hammer and the incredible PAIN!!  I iced it and wrapped it in an Ace bandage.  The next day I hobbled off the ship, onto an airplane and finally home.  A day later my orthopedist diagnosed the rupture.  An MRI confirmed a complete tear.  My doctor immediately put me in a Cam boot until the surgery could be perfomed.  The boot actually felt fine.  I had almost no pain in the days before the surgery. 

My surgery was the day after thanksgiving which put a damper on things because I couldn’t have that late night apple pie on Thankgiving.  I was ordered not to eat anything after 7pm so as not to interfere with the anesthesia.  Sugery was performed as an outpatient and I was sent home with some vicadin and an antibiotic.  I thougth I could do without the vicadin, but about 3:30 am I guess all the anesthesia and pain killers from the surgery wore off and I desparately took the vicadin without any more thoughts of “toughing it out”.  I took it every four hours for the next two days.  After that, the pain subsided quickly.  I stayed home from work that first week post -op and pretty much layed on m back with my feet up.  My leg was in a splint, not a hard cast.   I hobbled into work the next week, very unsteady on the crutches.  Luckily, everyone has been considerate, coming to see me in my cubicle when necessary.  I stayed behind my desk all day, getting up only when absolutely neccesary.

The doctor removed the splint and put me in an adjustable Cam Boot two weeks after the surgery.  A week later my stiches were removed.  Physicak therapy will start next week.  I can’t wait for it!   I’m looking forward to some real progress on this raod to recovery.

5 Responses

  1. not sure how this blog thing works. I ruptured my right achilles in a traumatic freak ski accident on 12/29/08 and had surgery 5 days later. Being very very active, I am astounded how incapacitating this is and not sure how to deal with it mentally. I am almost an invalid … wondering about anti-depressants for living with the mandatory inactivity for the next several months. Helps to know I am not the only one

  2. John,

    I know how you’re feeling and you will just have to try your hardest to be patient. I’ve torn both of my achilles tendons from playing basketball….you think I would have learned after the first one, but I love the cardio I get from basketball. I tore my first achilles in January of 2002 and the rehab after the surgery was soooooo long. I was on crutches for 6 weeks and in a shin high cast for 2 months. Regardless of what most people say, it’s going to be close to a full year before you’re as close to 100% as you’re going to be. Unfortunately, my calf muscle strength or size on my left leg has never returned. My vertical leap while doing a basketball layup is maybe 5 inches when it used to be more like 12-15 inches pre-rupture.

    My second achilles tendon rupture was last April 20th, so I’m 8 1/2 months post operation. I probably didn’t do myself any favors because I jumped onto the basketball court minutes after running 5 miles and my achilles tore literally 2 minutes after playing basketball. This surgeon was much better than my first surgeon. I was only on crutches for 2 weeks and then in a boot for 3 months. My calf size and strength is looking and feeling good. Like I said, I’m about 8 1/2 months along and am starting to get more agressive with my sporting activities. I’m running, doing some light sprinting, I’ve played sparingly in some indoor soccer games and have played a little flag football. My achilles is still tender and definitely can only handle a light amount of these activities. I’m assuming it’s going to be another 3 months (1 year total post op) before I’m back to all sports….yes, even including basketball. I know that doesn’t sound smart, but both surgeeons have almost assured me that once the achilles has been surgically repaired, the re-tear rate is very, very low.

    It sounds like you’re a lot like me and want to be back to all the activities that you’re used to doing. After my first achilles tear, I was snowboarding 3 months later, but it was too painful to go more than 20 seconds. Just try to find ways to channel your frustration/energy into something that doesn’t require a sport. Unfortunately, achilles tears suck and they are one of the worst injuries that your body can have done to it and that’s why the recovery period is so dang long! I had a supportive fiancee during the surgery/recovery period and friends that wanted to hang out and try to take my mind of not being able to play sports. Don’t rush it, you’ll only get more frustrated and also increase the risk of screwing up the healing process. That’s what I did after my first achilles tear and that’s probably why I’ve never regained the strenght or size in that calf muscle.

    Not to sound cliche, but what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I definitely know that now after tearing both of my achilles. I was very frustrated, annoyed, bitter, sometimes even wanted to have pity for myself, but you just have to remind yourself each and every day that you’re going to get better and that you’ll be back doing the things that you love to do. Good Luck!

  3. Hi John,

    No questions about it, your lifestyle is going to change over the next few months and the way your mind works changes by necessity. As you’ve just recently done the achilles the next few weeks are the hardest. But hang in there, this is the worst bit, things will only get better.

    I’m 2 months post rupture and started walking (well, limping) without any cast or boot just before Christmas. It really helps mentally to give yourself short term goals to look forward to (i.e. by this date I’ll be out of a cast, b y this date I’ll be feeling like going out socialising but with crutches, by this date I’ll be walking in a boot, by this date I’ll be walking without a boot and driving.) Don’t forget to plan way ahead, say 6 months time, something active (but not too active) that you couldn’t even dream of trying to do right now while you are lying down with your painful swollen foot.

    And - I know it sounds bad - let people feel sorry for you and help you to get around, giving you lifts places and helping with your lack of mobility. After you recover you’ll return to favour to whoever needs it I’m sure.

    FYI - After 2 months post rupture I’m feeling like I’m ‘normal’ again, the only thing I’m not doing that I wish I could is play sport (10 months to go until that!)

    Good luck

    Paul.

  4. I too ruptured both of my achilles. First , rt. achilles one 4-30-00 second left achilles one 12-14-08. Both while playing B-ball…love the run and exercise. I’m, only 3 weeks post op but much more advanced from first tear. In boot already walking around sometimes with boot and crutches sometimes just boot. First one I was still in cast at this point. Can’t wait to start rehab, when if Dr. approves. I ice every night and do range of motion on ankle/foot each night also. Hopefully, I regain my strength faster then first tear… It took long time to regain playing strength
    DK

  5. I ruptured my tendon playing squash over 1 wk ago, already had surgery. Moved to a fiberglass cast from plaster cast. Did anyone get a bloodblister from the swelling?

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