2+ years post surgery

June 5th, 2015

It’s been about 2 years and a few months for me post surgery.  I was extremely active before with soccer but have felt it’s too risky to fully return to the level I was prior to surgery.

My rupture was a bit different than most peoples.  My Achilles tore completely off my calf muscle which kept me in a cast for quite some time and atrophy set it strong.

2 years out now and my calf still has serious strength issues which is my main concern for not being able to play competitively any longer.  I still even when trying for weeks straight to gain strength and endurance in my left calf, can’t seam to get over the hurdle.  After 10-15 calf raises my calf cramps and I simply can’t continue, it psychically isn’t possible.

Has anyone else had this experience?  At this point I’m 32 years old and know the time is now to push it and gain my strength back but not sure if it will ever be possible at this point.

Other than my calf, I rarely have achilles pain.  Flexibility seems to be normal.  My calf is still visibly different than my right calf.  At work I walk a few miles a day I assume and I’m always standing.  Even so, my calf won’t gain strength.

I really need some advice or thoughts on this.  Thank you for any advice, tips, knowledge you may share with me!

Almost 14 weeks post surgery, question..

August 1st, 2013

So I began 2 shoes only a week and a half ago.  At this point, I’m really realizing how far off in off in terms of range of motion my left foot is compared to my right.  (Having to take short steps because my Achilles is not flexible enough to take normal steps).

How concerned should I be at this point?  Do I still have a lot of room/time for increasing ROM in my Achilles?

Example, when on my right knee and my left leg up at a 90degree angle, I can only push my knee forward to the front of my shoe.  I was told from my PT that the goal will be to get it 4 inches ahead of my toes which is a very large difference.  (Yes, I can do this with my good Achilles).

Knowing I only just began to walk, I’m sure ROM will increase to some degree, I’m just not familiar with how much and I don’t feel my PT are educated enough in this area to give me a solid answer.

So I guess the general question(s) is … once to 2 shoes, were you already at normal ROM?  At 14 weeks, do I still have room for increasing ROM?  How much did you increase ROM after getting to 2 shoes?

Thank you for any responses, whether if be ’scientific’ or just from your own experience.

1 + 1 = 2 Shoes !!

July 24th, 2013

Okay so it’s a terrible blog title, but it’s the first thing I came up with so I’ll roll with it.

It’s been a month since my last post when I began PWB.  About a week post PWB, I put my crutch down on my hardwood floors, I placed it slightly on a towel… My left crutch slid in front of me at a very fast pace and naturally I placed my AR foot in front of me to catch myself, it was one of the few times I was crutching around the house without my boot on.  Needless to say, it hurt pretty bad.  I was very worried I had done serious damage based on the pain I felt at the time.  Luckily the pain I had was not where I originally ruptured my Achilles, it was much lower.  Within an hour I had a nice knot on the bottom part of my achilles and moving my foot inwards felt like I had a sprained ankle.  I had to slow down my PT at home, but a week later I was back on the path again as the pain and swelling had disappeared from the mini-injury.

Again, I was going to PT and feeling like my PT were not pushing me hard enough but I stuck with it and began slowly at home pushing myself a little faster than they wanted.  I’ve been FWB now a few weeks and finally last week, I could FWB at good speed (walking of course) without any discomfort.

So… yesterday I visited my doctor for another checkup again and right off when he saw I came in with a boot asked me if my PT wasn’t pushing me enough (before i even mentioned anything) and sort of filled him in on what I had been up to.  Good news, yesterday when I got home I put on a second shoe for the first time in ~3 months.  Pretty exciting day other than the fact that I’m progressing, but regressing at the same time.  I walked to the kitchen a few times and then before dark walked about 100 yards on flat ground in front of my house.  Those 100 yards took me approximately 12 minutes to complete.  I repeat, 12 minutes.. wow that is slow, but I managed to do it which made me happy.

The day after my ‘long’ walk, I’m pretty sore, not as much in my calf area which is where a lot of my FWB soreness came from, but more in my Achilles area of my leg.  Knowing my Monday PT tends to try and compete with my Thursday PT for who can massage me into the most pain, I think Thursday PT will win this week.

I see my doctor again in 5 weeks, a half week later I’ll be attending a huge college football game in which there are massive hills and lots of stairs to get to my seat.  A week later I’ll be going on the first cruise of my life, I hope I’ll be walking at a ‘normal’ speed by then!

I hope everyone is doing well with their recoveries, I’ll be catching up with some of yours as soon as I hit the blue ‘Publish’ button to my right.  Thank you for the support.

-> PWB

June 25th, 2013

So I believe my doctor and PT did not communicate well enough..  Anyways, I’m 4 weeks into PT and seem to be progressing very well.  I receive massages at my PT and then go into other exercises.

-On Mondays or Tuesdays I get a heavy massage and then go hard on either back, core, or tricep workouts.

-On Thursdays I get a lighter massage and then have been more apt to do core work.

My PWB began just yesterday.  I already have ROM up pretty high.  I think I was told to wait a bit too long to PWB to the point where it likely won’t take that long to be FWB. I saw my doctor today for the 1st time in 4 weeks.  He told me I can progress to 2 shoes and bring the wedges into the shoe if I wanted to.  I don’t think I’m ready for that.  I’d like to get used to walking in the boot first.

Hadn’t posted for a while.. wanted to give everyone an update and check in on some others recovery as well.

Questions:

How long did it take you to go from PWB to FWB?

When did you go to 2 Shoes?, did you do it while PWB or after FWB?

When did you begin taking wedges out?  (I only have 2 to begin with.. I think I could probably switch to 1 already due to PT, but Zero would be way too much)

Thanks, sorry this post isn’t all that exciting.

PT Week 1

June 7th, 2013

My Physical Therapy began this past Monday..

We went over my injury, how it happened, the surgery, etc.  He also took off the tape that was placed over my wound/scar, what are we supposed to call it anyways?  It looks really really good and he echoed that belief.  He was very impressed.  I haven’t measured it, but it’s approx 3 1/2 - 4 inches long.  Naturally since it tore from my calf rather than my heal area, it’s likely higher than most of yours.

We did an overview of my foot, ankle, leg in terms of bruising and swelling.  I have a few large bruises on the bottom of my foot towards my toes, no pain from them though.  My ankle obviously is swollen, as is my foot.

We went over the ROM (Range of Motion) exercises I would start out with and be doing at home.  There wasn’t any real pain I would say.  Most of the therapy was done manually by him moving my foot for me, since at this point I had little ability to move it on my own.  Basically pushed and pulled, no further than ‘neutral’.  It felt good to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised this type of movement wouldn’t result in pain, living in fear so much inside a soft cast, then cast, then boot for  a week before PT, I figured I would feel at least some pain from this..

Anyways, nothing too crazy, we went over some of the protocol and the ‘this is NOT no pain no gain’.

Before leaving, I set up appointments for the next 2 months (twice per week).  I will be seeing 2 different Therapists.

On to Thursday..

Thursday was pretty nice, goal of the day for the most part was to work on the swelling.  I basically got a foot massage for 30 minutes.  She also worked on the scar area some.  Again, no pain in any of the areas due to pressure.  We did a few upper leg sets before I left, then iced for 10 minutes.  Off I went after that.

I definitely feel some soreness from the massage yesterday.  It was a bit more sore last night, it’s already going away this morning.

The therapy at home is probably much like everyone elses.  Forward and back, side to side, clinch the toes like a fist.  Then some upper leg ’squeezes’ I guess I’ll say.

I can already move my foot MUCH MUCH more than I could a few days ago which is exciting.  I can move my foot by myself now front to back, side to side.  It does twitch though some as I’m doing it, so I keep a hand with it as I go out of fear I would twitch and hurt something.  The toe clinches are a bit concerning but probably where they should be.. my little toe and next one over have pretty much zero movement.  Hopefully that changes soon!

Hope everyone else is doing well!  Overall a pretty exciting week for me.

Cast off, Boot on

May 29th, 2013

Reminder
Injury: April 18th
Surgery: April 26th - the tear was very high and actually had to be stitched into my calf muscle

Yesterday was the day my doctor had scheduled me to take off my cast and put me into a boot. Wasn’t worried at all going to the visit or happy to be honest. It was simply the next step for me to recovery.

They removed the cast immediately on arrival. My foot and ankle area was red with a slight purple look to it in different areas. I could tell it was definitely still swollen to some degree. The assistant told me it looked great and went through the recovery process over the next few weeks dependent on what the doctor said of course.

The doctor came in and pushed at it a bit and asked me how it felt. I didn’t feel any pain really, although it did linger for most of the day. Sort of a dull ache, nothing to complain about though. He put his palm on the bottom of my foot near my toes and asked me to push down. I’m sure you guys have had this same thought, feeling before during recovery. I thought this man is crazy. I could move my foot just a bit, and I slightly moved my foot against his hand, very worried about the pain I may feel. He sort of laughed and said he understood my concern and asked me to push a bit harder. I did just enough to make that end, ha.

The doctor told me I would be placed in a walking boot now (It’s an Aircast). I was fitted into a boot that fit me well. They installed only 2 angular pads at the heal of the boot. They asked me how it felt and if I thought I needed a 3rd. They didn’t want me to do 3 unless 2 felt uncomfortable. 2 felt fine to me, almost natural to where my cast was fitted I believe.

We scheduled a physical therapy near my house for next Tuesday and they will begin with range of motion and getting me off my crutches.

My leg is so thin.. it looks red and swollen in areas. I feel like its exposed out of the boot even laying on the couch, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

I wish my therapist had something sooner than next week, going to be another boring week at home.

Oh.. and the doctor reiterated that this recovery is not ‘no pain, no gain’. He told me to use pain as a barrier and do not break into that zone. I think I see him again in 3-4 weeks and I’ll be seeing the therapist in the mean time.

Hope all is well with everyone else and hope everyone in America anyways, had a great Memorial Day.

Post Op 1 1/2 Weeks, Recovery Update

May 7th, 2013

(Friday, April 26th) Arriving home after surgery, really not all that bad.  I got home around 5pm.  Sleep wasn’t too bad, I was taking my pain meds and it was bearable.  I was a little ‘woozy’, ate some mac and cheese for dinner, what I could eat of it anyways and went to sleep…

I woke up at 5am with extreme pain.  Pain meds were laughable, I was taking the recommended amount but it added up to zero is what it seemed anyways.  At 1pm, we figured it may be due to the swelling being inside the ’soft cast’.  I took a Tylenol, within an hour that unbearable pain change to manageable pain.

Beginning Sunday, April 28th, I no longer took any pain pills other than just your basic Tylenol which was plenty enough to resolve the swelling.

From then on until today, May 7th life was easy, laid on my back basically all day aside from making sure I keep the blood flowing in my legs, I would get up every few hours (especially immediately following surgery, don’t want any blood clots!) and crutch to at least the restroom and back. Only 1 little mishap with my first shower after surgery, we bagged it up, wrapped it up with saran wrap, and then even taped that at the top… water still got in, thankfully it didn’t dissolve the soft cast, it did however get fairly wet so we took off the wrap and put it in the dryer for about 30 min while I held me left up and motionless.. a little scary.  Called the doctor and based on how wet it was, they said it should be fine until we saw them again.  Think I’ll change to taking baths now.

Today, May 7th, I visited my doctor for the first time post surgery.  The nurse came in and cut off my soft cast.  My foot was very uncomfortable at first, my knee down was basically shivering and shaking a bit.  I managed after a few minutes to resolve that pretty well, I assume it was just general fear of possible pain.  My doctor came in and took a look at the awesome ~5" cut on my leg.  It looks really good, much better than I expected and much better than some others I’ve seen online.  I’m healing great as far as that goes he said.

The doctor broke out my MRI’s and wanted to show his assistant the photos of my injury because it was so rare.  He pointed out where the tear typically was, mine was basically at the top right at the muscle and 5cm lower was where the bottom part of the Achilles was.  He said that typically at this height they do not do surgery, but because of the curvature of the lower piece of Achilles, he was concerned it may not heal correctly.  So surgery it was, interesting for me.

So now the question was cast or no cast, he said typically at this point he is being more inclined going straight into a boot; however, because of having to stitch my Achilles into my calf muscle, and muscle stitching being less secure, he placed me in a hard cast and I will be in it for 3 weeks.  NWB at all until I see him again May 28th again.

I’ve been doing well mentally, I’ve been finding things to do on my computer, finding shows/movies to watch.  Thankfully my wife has been able to spend a lot of time at home during this recovery as well so I’ve had help whenever I’ve needed it.

Ohh yeah, and he estimates I’ll be out of work for another 3-4 months, I do a lot of walking and lifting of products at my job.  Hmmm, that’s a long time.  Short term disability sad to say for me…

Doc Call; Surgery April 26th

May 6th, 2013

So from my previous post, I had my MRI on Wednesday April 24th and was awaiting my doctor appointment on Monday the 28th to find out about surgery.

I got a call Thursday April 25th from the Doctor himself.  He told me he’d like to have surgery on my Achilles tomorrow (the 25th).  The tear was very high, and while he normally didn’t perform surgery at that height, he recommended it due to the separation of my Achilles.  There was a 5cm gap, a Type 3 tear. He told me it would only be a 1-2" incision, not too bad I was thinking.

24 hours later, I was arrived at the hospital for Surgery…

I went through all the prep work, as I’m sure all of you remember.  I was given a Nerve Blocker shot, apparently it hurt a lot (I told my wife that when she came in to see me pre-surgery), but thankfully I don’t remember it myself.  It was one of those ‘cartoon shots’, it looked about an inch in width with a needle coming out of it and I believe it went into the back of my leg, ouch.  Again, no memory of that thank goodness.  Thank you hospital drugs.

I woke up from surgery, no real pain, just a little sleepy and weak still.  I woke up with a ’soft cast’ on my left Achilles. Right below my knee and just shy of my toes.  I didn’t feel any pain at the time.  I did however find out that the tear was a little different than my doctor had thought based on the MRI.  I’m not even 100% sure yet, but my doctor told my wife that the tear was actually Achilles-Muscle.  As in it tore off my calf muscle, which he said was beyond rare.  During surgery they had to change the plan, they had to now stitch my Achilles to the Calf Muscle instead of Achilles to Achilles.  The Achilles - Calf connection required a different type of material which they did switch to.

Apparently this also required the expected 1-2" incision to be closer to 4-5" instead.  Hrmmmmm.  I still wonder if it was the doctors error in misreading the MRI, or the MRI being a difficult thing to analyze for an exact tear location.

Next post will be where I am now currently on May 6th, about 10 days post surgery.

Meeting with the Doc; MRI

May 6th, 2013

Boring post, but goes along with the story.

April 22nd, I met my specialist for the first time after previously speaking with him on the phone.

He introduced himself, I explained my injury, he already had contact from the previous doctor visit about the Thompson Test being positive.  From there, he wanted to try and figure out where the tear itself actually was on my Achilles.  He pressed and prodded, again, not a pleasant thing.  It was painful.  Based on his pressing and where the most pain was located, he was concerned it was a little more rare than your typical Achilles rupture.  It seemed quite a bit higher than normal.

He scheduled me for an MRI on Wednesday the 24th of April.  His appointments only are on Mondays and Tuesdays, assuming he does surgery the other days.  So I was going to see him again the following Monday and he would let me know his diagnosis on the MRI and surgery or no surgery.  I was concerned about the amount of time after the injury between the surgery and he told me that due to the swelling in my case, it would be better to wait anyways.

MRI on Wednesday, then back to laying down with my foot propped up.

My foot was in a boot I had from right ankle ligament damage from 2 years prior.  Good thing for me anyways… saved some $ on a new boot.  Crutches as well..

The Injury Itself

May 6th, 2013  Tagged

I’m 30 years old. I work a job where I’m standing/walking 95% of my day. I’ve played sports my entire life and consider myself in good shape, not overweight at all.

On April 18th, I was playing in an adult league soccer game. In the 2nd half of the game I simply stepped forward getting ready to jog in front of me, that’s when I heard the loud pop of the opponent kick with all his effort the bottom of my shoe. I was pretty angry, and as I was dropping to the ground, I turned and saw the opponent about 10 feet away. I was probably the most confused I had ever been in my life.. and then I knew what it was. I had ruptured my left Achilles.

My team carried me off the pitch thankfully, They held my foot in place so it were not to move. Once the injury took place, I never tried to put weight on it or move it all that much, and I believe that helped pain-wise. The pain wasn’t all that bad compared to some people I’ve seen on these boards or had heard about in the past. As some others feel, it was sort of the ‘numb’ feeling although it did hurt from time to time. I waited until the game ended, they carried me to my car and put me in the backseat so I could lay down and be driven to the doctor.

I arrived at the doctor, I told them I ruptured my Achilles. We did x-rays, then the Thompson Test. The Thompson test showed zero response and that’s when it became official. The Thompson test ’squeeze’ brought the pain on, not pleasant for me.

That was a Thursday night, I was then scheduled to see a specialist the following Monday the 22nd. I spoke with him on the 19th, and he advised elevation, ice and nothing more until I saw him on Monday.

I did a little bit of research and realized how long this ordeal could take… but stayed in a good mood about it all.