Disappointed about 10th week visit with OS

Good news and bad news. I’ll start with the good news which is that the surgeon was very happy with the way the tendon looks and I had a negative Thompson test. Doctor said I can start pool therapy exercises.

Bad news is that the surgeon is being overly conservative with the rehab approach until at hit 5 months. By conservative I mean he does not want me jogging until 5 months and he doesn’t want me doing weighted squats until 5 months. Now, I find this odd for a number of reasons. I’ve seen countless videos and read a bunch of stories of people who have jogged at 3-4 months and they were also doing weighted squats around the same time period. Out of all the ATR surgeries that my doctors has performed, he has only had one case of re-rupture and it was a guy that was 4 months post-op. The guy accidentally started running to catch his loose dog and that’s when the re-rupture occurred. I think that is the reason why he is being conservative.

Part of me wants to start light squats and light deadlifts at 3 months post-op (which is 2 weeks away).

Any of you guys have suggestions and recommendations as to how I should proceed and if I should push things a little harder?

11 Responses to “Disappointed about 10th week visit with OS”

  1. I would listen to your doc and PT, HB. Every rupture is different in location and severity (Haglund’s, partial thickness, etc.), and one size does not fit all. A medical professional who has access to your body and imaging is much better qualified to determine the best protocol for your case than some wahoo on the internet.

    My repair was pretty typical (full tear in the middle, open repair). I’m at week 16 and at least a month away from losing the limp or doing a one legged heel raise. Jogging comes after that.

    My PT gave me permission to start light leg presses and rack pulls at week 12. It was a lot of fun to start regaining strength, and it comes back quickly. I am going to wait on full squats and deadlifts until dorsiflexion is normal. A re-rupture at this stage is unlikely, but you certainly would not want a loaded bar on your shoulders if it happened.

    Patience is a virtue, good luck!

  2. Thanks, oscillot! My family and a lot of my friends are telling me the same thing. I think I’ll take everyone’s advice and listen to it. I like that your PT gave you permission to start light leg presses and rack pulls. Is there a reason your PT and you decided to start with rack pulls instead of deadlifts? I’m going to ask my PT if I can do the light leg press and rack pulls at week 12.

  3. @honeybadger, I’m with @oscillot on this one. I am at 5 months plus, post-op, and walking without a limp and almost able to do a one-legged heal raise, but I can say with certainty that jogging at four months would have been impossible for me. I didn’t fully lose the limp until a few weeks ago, and it comes back when I am tired (e.g. walking 5 miles on an even surface).

    Others reassured me early on that this injury would be a distant memory soon enough, but that it would be sooner if I did not re-rupture or re-injure. I am doing everything I can to balance being aggressive with putting my tendon at risk, and am taking the long view. IMO, it definitely helps to keep the long term goals in mind as well as the goals for next week.

    Good luck with your recovery!

  4. HB, straight legged rack pulls and leg press machines have mechanical failsafes that prevent you from overstretching your Achilles (i.e. knees forward of feet).

    What does your PT say about your OS’ protocol? Often times the surgeon is more conservative because their priority is preventing re-rupture, whereas the PT’s job is to get you back to normal.

  5. @cpo, thanks. I attempted to do down a flight of stairs today and it was so difficult and actually painful. I think I will ignore the stairs for a few more weeks. Have you tried going up stairs and if so, what helped to make it easier?

    Thanks again for the suggestions. I’ll hold off on jogging until 5 months.

  6. @oscillot, my PT is in agreement with my OS’ protocol especially on the jogging part which I’m finally ok with now.

    When I told my PT that I’ve seen guys easing back into deadlifts at 3 to 4 months, he said, don’t worry, I’ll get you there.

    Today I did shoulders at the gym and a little leg workout prior as a warm-up. For my shoulders I did standing military press and was able to do 115lbs. As I was walking out the weight, I could notice the weakness in my repaired side. I also did standing barbell shrugs with light weight (135lbs) and it felt fine. I’m going to ask him about light rack pulls.

    As for my warm-up, I did calf raises with a 10lb plate on each hand for 3 sets of 15. I did the same for wall squats (10lb plate in each hand) for 3 x 15 and wall squat hold. I even was able to do single leg RDL’s with my bodyweight, but, only did 3 sets of 5.

  7. You’re having problems walking UP stairs, HB? I find going down to be much more difficult. When I have two hands, I only rest the heel of my injured side on the step, then roll over with my body weight so as to not go into dorsiflexion. If I only have one hand to hold onto the bannister, I step down exclusively with my injured foot first.

  8. @oscillot. I have to take one step up with my repaired leg when going up stairs. When I am going down stairs, I have great difficult. I feel a little pain in the tendon and I have to hold onto the handrails. I also step down exclusively with my injured foot

    What are you doing at therapy and on your own to help you move more efficiently when going down stairs?

  9. Probably best to avoid pain, HB. Do you ever scoot down on your butt? Earlier in my recovery, my two year old daughter and I would “race” down stairs this way.

    My therapist has me stretch out my Achilles (still at 0 degs DF) and practice slow-motion “step downs” from a thick book using my injured leg (eccentric stretching).

  10. @oscillot, I haven’t tried that. Way to have fun and keep up the competitive drive by “racing” with your daughter in the early portion of recovery. By the way, how many weeks out are you? Do you have a blog on here?

    My OS stated on the PT protocol that he doesn’t want any stretching of the Achilles which I believe he will stick to until I am 5 months post-op. Not sure why. I am going to try your method of a slow step down from a thick book using the repaired leg. Thanks for the help!

  11. I’m 17 weeks post-op: http://achillesblog.com/oscillot/

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